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Title: The Battle of Principles

Author: Newell Dwight Hillis

Release date: June 11, 2006 [eBook #18557]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Audrey Longhurst, Janet Blenkinship and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


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The Battle of Principles



A Study of the Heroism and Eloquence of the Anti-Slavery
12mo, cloth, gilt top, net, $1.20.
Studies in Culture and Success
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Studies, National and Patriotic on America of To-day
and To-morrow
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Studies of Character, Real and Ideal
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A Study of Social Sympathy and Service
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Studies in Self-Culture and Character
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Studies for "The Hour When the Immortal Hope Burns
Low in the Heart"
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A Study of the Atrophy of the Spiritual Sense
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A Study of Channing's Symphony
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Battle of Principles

A Study of the Heroism
and Eloquence of the
Anti-Slavery Conflict



New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh

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Copyright, 1912, by

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 125 North Wabash Ave.
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

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These are days of destiny for the people of the Republic. Democracy, like a beautiful civilization, is sweeping over all the earth. From Portugal comes the news of a monarchy that is taking on democratic forms. Turkey has announced the liberty of the printing press, Russia is planning a new system of popular education, China is in process of adopting a constitutional government, with a cabinet responsible to the people. Unless one reads the newspapers in many languages, the observer will miss daily some new victory for democracy. Great changes are on also for the Republic. Now that the Civil War is fifty years away, the new North and the new South represent a solid nation. Indeed, if every Northern soldier were to die to-day, not one interest or liberty of this Republic would be permitted to suffer by the sons of the Confederate soldiers, who would defend the nation unto blood as bravely as men born north of Mason and Dixon's line—indeed, who fought gallantly for it in the Cuban[Pg 6] war. The North has entered upon a new industrial epoch, but the South also is in the midst of its greatest industrial movement, and in sight of its enlargement, by reason of the Panama Canal.

The Western Continent is not large, but it holds more than half the farm land of the planet, and it is already evident that the United States and Canada, with their free institutions, will indirectly and directly control the thousand millions of people that will soon live between the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and Cape Horn. The one question of the hour is how to make all the coming millions patriots towards their country, scholars towards the intellect, obedient citizens towards the laws of nature and God. Our national peril is Mammonism, and the sordid pursuit of gold. Our fathers came hither in pursuit of God and liberty,—not gold and territory. Sixty of our present ninety millions of people have entered the earthly scene since the Civil War. Our young men and women, and the children of foreign born peoples need to open the pages of history, setting forth the great men and events of the Anti-Slavery epoch in this land.

The time has come for the teachers in the[Pg 7] schoolroom and the preachers in their pulpits to assemble the youth of the nation, and drill them in the history of industrial democracy, and of political liberty. If our youth are to make the twentieth century glorious, they must realize the continuity of our institutions, and often return to the nineteenth century and the Anti-Slavery epoch. The phrase, "For God, home and native land," is often on the lips of our teachers. Love towards God gives religion; the love of home gives marriage; the love of country, patriotism. But patriotism is a fire that must be fed with the fuel of ideas. These chapters are written in the belief that the youth of to-day will find in the history of their fathers a storehouse filled with seed for a world sowing, an armoury filled with weapons for to-morrow's battle, a library rich with wisdom for the morrow's emergency, a cathedral, bright with memorials of yesterday's heroes, its soldiers and scholars, its statesmen, and above all, its martyred President.

Newell Dwight Hillis.
Plymouth Church,
Brooklyn, N. Y.
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I.Rise of American Slavery: Growth of
 the Traffic11
II.Webster and Calhoun: The Battle Line
 in Array40
III.Garrison and Phillips: Anti-Slavery
IV.Charles Sumner: The Appeal to Educated
V.Horace Greeley: The Appeal to the
 Common People117
VI.Harriet Beecher Stowe; John Brown:
 The Conflict Precipitated136
VII.Lincoln and Douglas: Influence of the
 Great Debate160
VIII.Reasons for Secession: Southern Leaders188
IX.Henry Ward Beecher: The Appeal to
X.Heroes of Battle: American Soldiers
 and Sailors242
XI.The Life of the People at Home Who
 Supported the Soldiers at the Front263
XII.Abraham Lincoln: The Martyred President288

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The history of the nineteenth century holds some ten wars that disturbed the nations of the earth, but perhaps our Civil War alone can be fully justified at the bar of intellect and conscience. That war was fought, not in the interest of territory or of national honour,—it was fought by the white race for the enfranchisement of the black race, and to show that a democratic government, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, could permanently endure.

In retrospect, the Great Rebellion seems the mightiest battle and the most glorious victory in the annals of time. The battle-field was a thousand miles in length; the combatants numbered two million men; the struggle was protracted over four years; the hillsides of the whole South were made billowy with the country's dead; a million men were killed or wounded in the two thousand two[Pg 12] hundred battles; thousands of gifted boys who might have permanently enriched the North and South alike, through literature, art or science, were cut off as unfulfilled prophecies in the beginning of their career, and what is more pathetic, another million women, desolate and widowed, remained to look with altered eyes upon an altered world, while alone they walked their Via Dolorosa. In the physical realm the black shadow of the sun's eclipse remains but for a few minutes, but through four awful years the nation dwelt in blackness and dreadful night, while fifty more years passed, and the shadow has not yet disappeared fully from the land.

Strictly speaking, the Civil War began with the debate between Daniel Webster and Calhoun in 1830. These intellectual giants set the battle lines in array in the halls of the Senate. The warfare that began with arguments in Congress was soon transferred to the lyceum and lecture hall, then to the pulpit and press, then to the assembly rooms of State legislatures, until finally it was submitted to the soldiers. At last Grant, Sherman and Thomas witnessed to the truth of Webster's argument, that the Union is one and inseparable, that it should endure now[Pg 13] and forever, but the endorsement was written with the sword's point, and in letters of blood. The conflict raged, therefore, for thirty-five years, and some of the most desperate battles were fought not with guns and cannon, but with arguments, in the presence of assembled thousands, who listened to the intellectual attack and defense. In their famous debate, Lincoln and Douglas were over against one another like two fortresses, bristling with bayonets, and with cannon shotted to the muzzle.

The many millions of people in the United States, born or immigrated here since the Civil War, busied with many things during this rich, complex and prosperous era, have suffered a grievous loss, through the weakening of their patriotism. Multitudes have forgotten that with great price their fathers bought our industrial liberty for white and black alike. The study of no era, perhaps, is so rewarding to the youth of the country as the study of the Anti-Slavery epoch. It was an era of intellectual giants and moral heroes. Great men walked in regiments up and down the land. It was the age of our greatest statesmen of the North and South,—Webster and Calhoun; of our greatest[Pg 14] soldiers,—Grant, Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan, and of Lee and Stonewall Jackson. It was the era of our greatest orators, Phillips and Beecher; of our greatest editors, led by Greeley and Raymond; of our greatest poets and scholars, Whittier and Lowell and Emerson; and of our greatest President, the Martyr of Emancipation. So wonderful are those scenes named Gettysburg, Appomattox, and the room where the Emancipation Act was signed, that even the most skeptical have felt that the issues of liberty and life for millions of slaves justified the entrance of a Divine Figure upon the human battle-field. This Unseen Leader and Captain of the host had dipped His sword in heaven, and carried a blade that was red with insufferable wrath against oppression, cruelty and wrong.

Now that fifty years have passed since the Civil War, the events of that conflict have taken on their true perspective, and movements once clouded have become clear. For great men and nations alike, the suggestive hours are the critical hours and epochs. That was a critical epoch for Athens, when Demosthenes plead the cause of the republic, and insisted that Athens must defend her liberties, her art, her laws, her social institu[Pg 15]tions, and in the spirit of democracy resist the tyrant Philip, who came with gifts in his hands. That was a critical hour for brave little Holland, dreaming her dreams of liberty,—when the burghers resisted the regiments of bloody Alva, and, clinging to the dykes with their finger-tips, fought their way back to the fields, expelled Philip of Spain, and, having no fortresses, lifted up their hands and exclaimed, "These are our bayonets and walls of defense!" Big with destiny also for this republic was that critical hour when Lincoln, in his first inaugural, pleaded with the South not to destroy the Union, nor to turn their cannon against the free institutions that seemed "the last, best hope of men." But the eyes of the men of the South were holden, and they were drunk with passion. They lighted the torch that kindled a conflagration making the Southern city a waste and the rich cotton-field a desolation.

At the very beginning, the founders and fathers of the nation were under the delusion that it was possible to unite in one land two antagonistic principles,—liberty and slavery. It has been said that the Republic, founded in New England, was nothing but an attempt to translate into terms of prose the[Pg 16] dreams that haunted the soul of John Milton his long life through. The founders believed that every man must give an account of himself to God, and because his responsibility was so great, they felt that he must be absolutely free. Since no king, no priest, and no master could give an account for him, he must be self-governing in politics, self-controlling in industry, and free to go immediately into the presence of God with his penitence and his prayer. The fathers sought religious and political freedom,—not money or lands. But the new temple of liberty was to be for the white race alone, and these builders of the new commonwealth never thought of the black man, save as a servant in the house. For more than two centuries, therefore, the wheat and the tares grew together in the soil. When the tares began to choke out the wheat, the uprooting of the foul growth became inevitable. Perhaps the Civil War was a necessity,—for this reason, the disease of slavery had struck in upon the vitals of the nation and the only cure was the surgeon's knife. Therefore God raised up soldiers, and anointed them as surgeons, with "the ointment of war, black and sulphurous."[Pg 17]

By a remarkable coincidence, the year that brought a slave ship to Jamestown, Virginia, brought the Mayflower and the Pilgrim fathers to Plymouth Rock. It is a singular fact that the star of hope and the orb of night rose at one and the same hour upon the horizon. At first the rich men of London counted the Virginia tobacco a luxury, but the weed soon became a necessity, and the captain of the African ship exchanged one slave for ten huge bales of tobacco. A second cargo of slaves brought even larger dividends to the owners of the slave ship. Soon the story of the financial returns of the traffic began to inflame the avarice of England, Spain and Portugal. The slave trade was exalted to the dignity of commerce in wheat and flour, coal and iron. Just as ships are now built to carry China's tea and silk, India's indigo and spices, so ships were built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for the kidnapping of African slaves, and the sale of these men to the sugar and cotton planters of the West Indies and of America. Even the stories of the gold and diamond fields of South Africa and Alaska have had less power to inflame men's minds than the stories of the black men in the forests of Africa,[Pg 18] every one of whom was good for twenty guineas.

The London of 1700 experienced a boom in slave stocks as the London of 1900 in rubber stocks. Merchants and captains, after a few years' absence, returned to London to buy houses, carriages and gold plate, and by their political largesses to win the title of baronet, and even seats in the House of Lords. This illusion of gold finally fell upon the throne itself, and King William and Queen Mary lent the traffic royal patronage. At the very time when men in Boston, exultant over the success of their experiment in democracy, were writing home to London about this ideal republic of God that had been set up at Plymouth, and the orb of liberty began to flame with light and hope for New England, this other orb began to fling out its rays of sorrow, disease and death across Africa and the southern sands.

At length, in 1713, Queen Anne, in the Treaty of Utrecht, after a long and arduous series of diplomatic negotiations, secured for the English throne a monopoly of the slave traffic, and the writers of the time spoke of this treaty as an event that would make the queen's name to be eulogized as long as[Pg 19] time should last. But two hundred years have reversed the judgment of the civilized world. History now recalls Queen Anne's monopoly of the slave traffic as it recalls the Black Death in England, the era of smallpox in Scotland,—for one such treaty is probably equal to two bubonic plagues, or three epidemics of cholera and yellow fever.

Finally, an informal agreement was entered upon between the English slave dealers, the Spaniards and Portuguese,—an agreement that was literally a "covenant with death and a compact with hell." The Portuguese became the explorers of the interior, the advance agents of the traffic, who reported what tribes had the tallest, strongest men, and the most comely women. The Spaniards maintained the slave stations on the coast, and took over from the Portuguese the gangs of slaves who were chained together and driven down to the coast; the English slave dealers owned the ships, bought the slaves at wholesale, transported the wretches across the sea, and retailed the poor creatures to the planters of the various colonies. Between 1620 and 1770 three million slaves were driven in gangs down to the African seacoast, and transported[Pg 20] to the colonies. At this time some of the greatest houses in London, Lisbon and Madrid were founded, and some of the greatest family names were established during these one hundred and fifty years when the slave traffic was most prosperous. De Bau thinks that another 250,000 slaves perished during the voyages across the sea. For the eighteenth century was a century of cruelty as well as gold,—of crime and art,—of murderous hate and increasing commerce. If the prophet Daniel had been describing the Spain, Portugal and England of that time, he would have portrayed them as an image of mud and gold,—but chiefly mud. Little wonder that Thomas Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia," treating of the influence and possible consequences of slavery, wrote, "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." As England anchored war-ships in the harbour of Shanghai, and forced the opium traffic upon China, so she forced the slave traffic upon the American colonies by gun and cannon. The story of the English kings who crowded slavery upon the South makes up one of the blackest pages in the history of a country that has been like unto a sower who went forth to sow[Pg 21] with one hand the good seed of liberty and justice, while with the other she sowed the tares of slavery and oppression.

From the very beginning, the climate and the general atmosphere of the North was unfriendly to slavery, just as the cotton, sugar and indigo, as well as the warm climate of the South encouraged slave labour. At first, neither Boston nor New York associated wrong with the custom of buying and using slave labour. And when, after a short time, opposition began to develop, this antagonism to slavery was based upon economic, rather than upon moral considerations.

Jonathan Edwards was our great theologian, but at the very time that Jonathan Edwards was writing his "Freedom of the Will" and preaching his revival sermons on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," he was the owner of slaves. When that philosopher, whose writings had sent his name into all Europe, died, he bequeathed a favourite slave to his descendants. Whitefield was the great evangelist of that era, but Whitefield during his visit to the colonies purchased a Southern plantation, stocked it with seventy-five slaves, and when he died bequeathed it to a relative, whom he characterizes as "an elect[Pg 22] lady," who, notwithstanding she was "elect," was quite willing to derive her livelihood from the sweat of another's brow.

And yet even in the Providence plantations, where more slaves were bought and sold than in any other of the Northern colonies, the traffic soon began to wane. The simple fact is that the rigour of the climate and the severity of the winters of New England made the life of the African brief. The slave was the child of a tropic clime, unaccustomed to clothing, and the January snows and the March winds soon developed consumption and chilled to death the child of the tropics. It was found impracticable to use the black man in either the forests or fields, and in a short time slaves were purchased only as domestic servants.

But about 1750 the conscience of New England awakened. Men in the pulpit took a strong position against the traffic. The Congregational churches of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut declared against slavery and asked the legislatures to adopt the Jewish law, emancipating all slaves whatsoever at the end of the tenth year of servitude. A little later, slavery was made illegal in all the New England colonies,[Pg 23] Pennsylvania at length remembered William Penn, who had freed all his slaves in his will, while the German churches of that State began to expel all members who were known to have bought or held a slave. When, therefore, the convention met in Philadelphia, in 1776, preparatory to the Declaration of Independence, the delegates were able to say that as a whole the Northern colonies had cleansed their borders of the abuse, and had decided to build their institutions and civilization upon free labour, as the sure foundation of individual and social prosperity.

But the antagonism to slavery in the Southern colonies was only less pronounced, and this, not because of economic reasons, but because of moral considerations. The Southern climate was friendly to cotton and tobacco, indigo and rice. These products made heavy demands upon labour, but white labour was unequal to the intense heat of the Southern summer and workmen were scarce. During the revolutions under King Charles I and Charles II and the wars at the beginning of the eighteenth century, England needed every man at home. Virginia offered high wages and large land rewards, but it was well-nigh impossible for her to secure immigrants and[Pg 24] the labour she needed. In that hour the captain of a slave ship appeared in the House of Burgesses and offered to supply the need, but the people of Virginia instructed the delegates to the assembly to protest against the traffic. Finally, the colony imposed a duty upon each slave landing, and made the duty so high as to destroy the profits of the slave trade. King George was furious with anger, and sent out a royal proclamation forbidding all interference with the slave traffic under heavy penalty, and affirming that this trade was "highly beneficial to the colonies, as well as remunerative to the throne." Growing more antagonistic to slavery, the planters of Fairfax County called a convention at which Washington presided. Later, in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin brought in the resolutions condemning slavery as "a wicked, cruel and unjustifiable trade." Soon the leading men of the Southern colonies sent a formal protest to England. Lord Mansfield supported them in a decision that in English countries, governed by English laws, freedom was the rule, and slavery illegal, unless the colony, through its assembly, expressly legalized the slave traffic.

When the first convention met in Philadel[Pg 25]phia, Jefferson included among the articles of indictment against George the Third this paragraph: "He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery or to incur a miserable death in the transportation thither." This passage, however, was struck out of the Declaration in compliance with the wishes of the delegates from two colonies, who desired to continue slavery. But in 1784 Jefferson reopened the question by reporting an ordinance prohibiting slavery after the year 1800 in the territory that afterwards became Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the territory north of the Ohio River. This anti-slavery clause was lost in the convention by only a single vote. "The voice of a single individual," wrote Jefferson, "would have prevented this abominable crime. But Heaven will not always be silent. The friends to the rights of human nature will in the end prevail."

Indeed, in the Southern States up to the very beginning of the Civil War there was a strong anti-slavery sentiment. When the first meeting was held in Baltimore to or[Pg 26]ganize the Abolition Society, eighty-five abolition societies in various counties of Southern States sent delegates to the convention. It is a striking fact that the South can claim as much credit for the organization of the Abolition Society as William Lloyd Garrison and his friends in the North. For the real responsibility for slavery does not rest upon Virginia, the Carolinas or Georgia, but upon the mother-land, upon the avarice of the throne, the cupidity of English merchants and the power of English guns and cannon.

By the year 1790, therefore, slavery in the North had either died of inanition, or had been rendered illegal by the action of State legislatures, and the chapter was closed. There are the best of reasons also for believing that in the South slavery was waning, while the influence of planters who believed free labour more economical was waxing. Suddenly an unexpected event changed the whole situation. The commerce of the world rests upon food and clothing. The food of the world is in wheat and corn, the clothing in cotton and wool. But wool was so expensive that for the millions in Europe cotton garments were a necessity. England had the looms and[Pg 27] the spindles, but she could not secure the cotton, and the Southern planters could not grow it. The cotton pod, as large as a hen's egg, bursts when ripe and the cotton gushes out in a white mass. Unfortunately, each pod holds eight or ten seeds, each as large as an orange seed. To clean a single pound of cotton required a long day's work by a slave. The production of cotton was slow and costly, the acreage therefore small, and the profits slender. The South was burdened with debt, the plantations were mortgaged, and in 1792 the outlook for the cotton planters was very dark, and all hearts were filled with foreboding and fear. One winter's night Mrs. General Greene, wife of the Revolutionary soldier, was entertaining at dinner a company of planters. In those days the planters had but one thought—how to rid their plantations of their mortgages. It happened that the conversation turned upon some possible mechanism for cleaning the cotton. Mrs. Greene turned to her guests, and, reminding Eli Whitney, a young New Englander who was in her home teaching her children, that he had invented two or three playthings for her children, suggested that he turn his attention to the problem.[Pg 28]

Young Whitney had no tools, but he soon made them; had no wire, but he drew his own wire, and within a few months he perfected the cotton gin. When the cat climbs upon the crate filled with chickens, it thrusts its paw between the laths and pulls off the feathers, leaving the chicken behind the laths. Young Whitney substituted wires for laths, and a toothed wheel for the cat's paw, and soon pulled all the cotton out at the top, leaving the seeds to drop through a hole in the bottom of the gin. Within a year every great planter had a carpenter manufacturing gins for the fields. With Whitney's machine one man in a single day could clean more cotton than ten negroes could clean in an entire winter. Planters annexed wild land, a hundred acres at a time. For the first time the South was able to supply all the cotton that England's manufacturers desired. The cities in England awakened to redoubled industry. Southern cotton lands jumped from $5 to $50 an acre. Whitney found the South producing 10,000 bales in 1793. Sixty years later it produced 4,000,000 bales. Historians affirm that this single invention added $1,000,000,000 as a free gift to the planters of the South.[Pg 29]

Although Eli Whitney took out patents, every planter infringed them. Whole States organized movements to fight Whitney before the courts. In 1808, when his patent expired, he was poorer than when he began. Feeling that the Southern planters had robbed him of the legitimate reward of his invention, Whitney came North and gave himself to the study of firearms. He invented what is now known as the Colt's revolver, the Remington rifle and the modern machine gun. Beginning with the feeling that he had been robbed of his just rights by Southern planters, Whitney ended by inventing the very weapons that deprived the planters of their slaves and preserved the Union.

But the new prosperity and the increased acreage for cotton in the South created an enormous market for slaves, and soon the sea swarmed with slave ships. Prices advanced five hundred per cent, until a slave that had brought $100 brought $500, and some even $1,000. What made slavery no scourge, but a great religious moral blessing? The answer is, the cotton gin and the cotton interest that gave a new desire to promote slavery, to spread it, and to use its labour. For Eli Whitney had made cotton to be king. Cot[Pg 30]ton encouraged slavery; slavery at last threatened the Union and so brought on the Civil War.

The value of the slave as an economic machine depended upon his physique, health and general endurance. The slave hunters were Portuguese, Spaniards and Arabs, who drove the negroes in gangs down to the coast, where they were loaded upon the slave ships. When the trade was brisk and prices high, the hold of the ship was crowded to suffocation, and intense suffering was inevitable. Landing at Savannah or Charleston, Mobile or New Orleans, the slaves were sold at wholesale, in the auction place. Later, the slave dealer drove them in gangs through the villages, where they were sold at retail. The cost of a slave varied with the price of cotton. Of the three million one hundred thousand slaves living in the South in 1850, one million eight hundred thousand were raising cotton. That was the great export, the basis of prosperity. So great was the demand in England for Southern cotton that profits were enormous. The Secretary of the Treasury in Buchanan's time published a list of forty Southern planters in Louisiana and Mississippi. One of them had five hundred[Pg 31] negroes and sold the cotton from his plantation at a net profit of one hundred thousand dollars. Each negro, therefore, netted his master that year five hundred dollars. The working life of a slave was short, scarcely more than seven years, and for that reason the ablest negro was never worth more than from a thousand to twelve hundred dollars.

But if the cost of free labour was high, the cost of supporting the slave under the Southern climate was very low. The climate of the Gulf States is gentle, soft and propitious. Of forty planters who published their statements, the average cost of clothing and feeding a slave for one year was thirty dollars. One Louisiana planter, however, showed that one hundred slaves on his plantation had cost him in cash outlay seven hundred and fifty dollars for the entire year. This planter states that his slaves raised their own corn, converted it into meal and bread, raised their own sugar-cane, made their own molasses, built their own houses out of the forest hard by. The slaves also raised their own bacon, but unfortunately the price of meat was so high as to make its use only an occasional luxury. North Carolina passed a law commanding the planters to give their slaves meat[Pg 32] at certain intervals, but the law remained a dead letter. Other states, by legal enactment, fixed the amount of meal that should be given to slaves.

When Fanny Kemble, the English actress, retired from the stage, it was to marry a Southern planter, and her autobiography and private letters throw a flood of light upon the life of the slaves upon a typical plantation in the cotton States. She says that the planter expected that about once in seven years he must buy a new set of hands; that the slaves did little in the winter, but they worked fifteen hours a day in the spring, and often eighteen hours a day in the summer until the cotton was picked. She adds that the negro children used to beg her for a taste of meat, just as English children plead for a little candy. She states that on her husband's estate slave breeding was most important and remunerative, and that the increase and the young slaves sold made it possible for the plantation to pay its interest. "Every negro child born was worth two hundred dollars the moment it drew breath."

It was this separation of families that touched the heart of Fanny Kemble Butler,[Pg 33] and stirred the indignation of Harriet Martineau, who at the end of her year at the South wrote that she would rather walk through a penitentiary or a lunatic asylum than through the slave quarters that stood in the rear of the great house where she was entertained. It is this element that explains the statement of John Randolph of Virginia. Conversing one evening about the notable orations to which he had listened, the great lawyer said that the most eloquent words he had ever heard were "spoken on the auction block by a slave mother." It seemed that she pleaded with the auctioneer and the spectators not to separate her from her children and her husband, and she made these men, who were trafficking in human life, realize the meaning of Christ's words, "Woe unto him that doth offend one of My little ones; it were better for him that a millstone were placed about his neck and that he were cast into the depths of the sea."

In this era of industrial education for the coloured race it is interesting to note that five of the slave States imposed heavy penalties upon any one who should teach the slaves to read or write. Virginia, however, permitted the owner to teach his slave in the interest of[Pg 34] better management of the plantation. North Carolina finally consented to arithmetic. After 1831 and the Nat Turner negro insurrection more stringent laws were passed to prevent the slaves learning how to read, lest they chance upon abolition documents. A Georgian planter said that "The very slightest amount of education impairs their value as slaves, for it instantly destroys their contentedness; and since you do not contemplate changing their condition, it is surely doing them an ill service to destroy their acquiescence in it." In spite of the law, however, domestic servants were frequently taught to read. Frederick Douglass found a teacher in his mistress, where he was held as a domestic slave, and Douglass in turn taught his fellow slaves on the plantation by stealth. The advertisements of slaves that mention the slave's ability to read and cipher, as a reason for special value, prove that the more intelligent slaves had at least the rudiments of knowledge. Olmstead, in his "Cotton Kingdom," says he visited a plantation in Mississippi, where one of the negroes had, with the full permission of his master, taught all his fellows how to read.

An examination of the influence of slavery[Pg 35] upon the poorer whites shows that two-thirds of the white population suffered hardly less than did the coloured people. The slaveholding class formed an aristocracy, who dominated and ruled as lords. When the war broke out, there were about four hundred thousand slave-holders, and nine and a half million people. But of these four hundred thousand slave-holders, only about eight thousand owned more than fifty slaves each, and it was this mere handful who lived in splendid homes, surrounded with luxury, beauty, and refinement. Travellers who have thrown the veil of romance and enchantment about the Southern home, with a great house embowered in magnolia trees, its rooms stored with art treasures, its walls lined with marbles and bronzes, and its banqueting room at night crowded with beautiful women and handsome men—these travellers speak of what was as a matter of fact exceptional. We must remember that these men represented a small aristocracy; that their mode of life, so charmingly pictured by many accomplished writers, was the life of a select group, and that the great slave plantations numbered not more than eight thousand in that vast area.

From the hour of the organization of the[Pg 36] Abolition Society, these Southern planters assumed an aggressive position. Their editors, politicians and lawyers began to publish briefs, in support of the peculiar institution. The usual argument began with ridicule of Thomas Jefferson's famous statement that all men are born equal. The second argument was an economic one, based on the value of the slaves. Three million slaves would average a value of five hundred dollars each, and this meant a billion five hundred millions of property, that had to be considered as so much property in ships, factories, engines, reapers, pastures, meadows, herds and flocks. All planters invoked the words of Moses, permitting the Hebrews to hold slaves, and therefore exhibiting slavery as a divine institution. Statesmen justified the Fugitive Slave Law by triumphantly quoting Paul's letter, sending Onesimus back to his rich master, Philemon. Jefferson Davis rested his argument upon the curse that God pronounced upon Canaan, and asserted that slavery was established by a decree of Almighty God and that through the portal of slavery alone the descendant of the graceless son of Noah entered the temple of civilization. Once a year the Southern minister preached[Pg 37] from the text, "Cursed be Canaan, the son of Ham. A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."

A few scholars grounded themselves on the scientific argument. These men held that the black man was separated from the Saxon by a great chasm, that if freed he was not equal to self-government, that he was a mere child when placed in competition with the white man, and that the strong owed it to the weak, that it was the duty of every superior man to take charge of the inferior, and impose government from without.

The politician had a stronger argument in defense of slavery. He held that the nation that was strong, educated, prosperous, with an army and navy, had not only the right but the duty of imposing government upon a colony that was ignorant, poor, and degraded, and that this example of the nation governing a colony by force of arms proved that the white man, as master, should impose government from without upon the slave.

Not until years after the war was over did men fully realize that slavery was weight and free labour wings to the people. The North believed that the working man should be free,[Pg 38] that he should be educated in the public schools, and that the only way to increase his wage was to increase his intelligence. Each new knowledge, therefore, brought a new economic hunger, and made the free labourer a good buyer in the market, thus supporting factories and shops. Contrariwise the slave was a poor buyer. The negro picking cotton out of the pod had few wants,—one garment about his loins, a pone of corn bread, a husk mattress,—no more. For that reason the slave starved the factory and shop. Invention in the South perished. Every attempt to found a factory was attended with failure. Of necessity, the North grew steadily richer straight through the war, while the South grew steadily poorer. The war closed with Northern factories and shops and trade at the high tide of prosperity. The free working man asked many forms of clothing for the body, books and magazines for the mind, pictures for the walls, sewing-machine, the reed organ, every conceivable comfort and convenience for his family, and these many forms of hunger nourished invention, made the towns centres of manufacturing life, and built a rich nation. The Northern working man put his head into his task,[Pg 39] the slave, his heel. When the war was over, the South was like a crushed egg, impoverished by slavery. The peculiar institution had served well eight thousand slave planters, each of whom owned more than fifty slaves. But slavery had starved the remaining millions.

Now that the new era has come, no statesman, no scholar, no editor, has ever indicted slavery as the costliest possible form of production, with half the skill, eloquence and conviction of Southern writers. What Northern men believe, the Southerner knows. Unconsciously the Southern youth was handicapped in the commercial race. His Northern brother was an athlete, stripped to the skin, while he dragged a fetter, invisible. That he should have come so near to winning the race is a tribute to his courage, endurance, and a mental resource that can never be praised too highly. If the rest of the world could only fight for good causes, with half the ability, chivalry and bravery that the South fought for a bad economic system, the world would soon enter upon the millennium.[Pg 40]



The year was 1830; the scene, the Senate Chamber in Washington; the combatants, Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. Two hundred and ten years had now passed since the ship of liberty had come to New England, and the ship of slavery had landed in Virginia. These centuries had given ample time for the development of the real genius and influence of liberty and free labour in the civilization of the North, and of slave labour upon the institutions of the South. Little by little the merchants, manufacturers and professional classes of the North had come to feel that a free and educated working class produces wealth more cheaply and rapidly than slave labour, and that the working people of America must be educated and free, if they were to compete with the free working people of Great Britain and Europe. Contrariwise, the South believed that manual labour was a task for slaves, that cotton, rice[Pg 41] and sugar were produced more rapidly by slave labour than by free labour. The Southern civilization was built on the plan of producing raw cotton, and exchanging it for manufactured goods. It did not escape the notice of Southern leaders, however, that under free labour the North had nearly double the population and wealth of the South. But Senator Hayne explained this by saying that the biggest nations had never been the greatest, and that the renowned peoples had been like Athens,—small states, elect and patrician.

But darkness and light, summer and winter, liberty and slavery cannot exist side by side, in peace and tranquility. Unite hydrogen and chlorine, and the chemist has an explosion that takes off the roof of the house. And because liberty and slavery were antagonistic, and mutually destructive, whenever the representatives of both came together there was inevitably an explosion either on the platform or through the press. It could not have been otherwise. In Palestine two opposing civilizations came into collision,—one the Hebrew and the other the Philistine,—and the Philistine went down. In Holland the Dutchmen, working towards democracy, collided[Pg 42] with the Spaniards, working towards autocracy, and the Spaniard went down. In England, Hampden and Pym came into collision with Charles the First and Archbishop Laud. The two leaders of democracy wished to increase the privileges of the common people by diffusing property, liberty, office and honours, while Charles the First and Laud wished to lessen the powers of the people, and to increase the privileges of the throne; democracy won, and autocracy lost. And now in this republic, a civilization based upon the freedom and education of the working classes came into collision with the Southern civilization, based upon ignorant slave labour, and there were upheavals and political outbreaks everywhere. In vain Abraham tried to house Isaac, the son of the free woman, and Ishmael, the son of the slave woman, under one and the same roof. Slowly the men in the North and the manufacturers of England came to feel that slavery was interfering with the commerce and prosperity, not simply of the people of this republic, but of Europe also. Slavery was an economic obstruction, lying directly in the path of progress.

The two men who marked out the lines of struggle and precipitated the conflict were[Pg 43] Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. Daniel Webster, the defender of the Constitution, affirmed that the Union was one and inseparable, now and forever. John C. Calhoun said, "The State is sovereign and supreme, and the Union secondary." In effect Webster said, "The central government is the sun, and the States are planets, moving round about the central orb." Calhoun answered, "There is no central sun in our political system, but only planets, each revolving in any orbit it elects for itself." Webster said, "In the cosmic and political system alike, it is the central sun that causes the States like planets to move in order and harmony, without collision, and with rich harvests." Calhoun answered that every planet should be its own sun, and, if it choose, be a runaway orb, and collide with whom it will.

Finally, the argument of Webster and Calhoun was submitted to armies. Grant and Sherman said, "Webster is right; the Union must be maintained." Lee and Jackson answered, "Calhoun is right; the Union must go, and the sovereign State remain." At Bull Run, Calhoun's doctrine seemed to be in the ascendancy; at Gettysburg, Webster's argument seemed to have the more cogency; at[Pg 44] Appomattox Lee withdrew his support from Calhoun, and allowed Daniel Webster's plea that the Union must abide and be now and forever, one and inseparable.

The Northern statesman, Daniel Webster, was probably the greatest political genius our country has produced. He was born in New Hampshire, in 1782, and was seven years old when his father gave him a copy of the newly-adopted Constitution, which he soon committed to memory. His father belonged to the farmer class, who read by night and brooded upon his reading by day. In an era of privation for the colonists, by stern denial he put his son through Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College. While still a young man, Daniel Webster leaped into fame by a single argument before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and became the competitor of jurists like Rufus Choate. His orations on "Bunker Hill Monument," the "Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers," the "Death of Adams and Jefferson," are among the really sublime passages in the history of eloquence. In the Girard College case Webster established the point that Christianity is a part of the common law of the land. Criminal lawyers quote Webster's argument[Pg 45] in the great Knapp murder trial, that the voice of conscience is the voice of God, as the world's best statement of the moral imperative, and the automatic judgment seat God has set up in the city of man's soul.

Even from the physical view-point he deserved his epithet, "the godlike Daniel." Not so tall as Calhoun or Clay, he was more solidly built than either of the Southern orators. His head was so large and beautiful, that Crawford, the sculptor, thought Webster his ideal model for a statue of Jupiter. His skin was a deep bronze and copper hue, but when excited his face became luminous, and translucent as a lamp of alabaster. His opponents say that Webster had the finest vocal instrument of his generation, and that he was a master of all possible effects through speech. His voice was mellow and sweet, with an extraordinary range, extending from the ringing clarion tenor note, to the bass of a deep-toned organ. The historian tells us "Webster had the faculty of magnifying a word into such prodigious volume that it was dropped from his lips as a great boulder might drop into the sea, and it jarred the Senate Chamber like a clap of thunder." The Kentucky lawyer,[Pg 46] Thomas Marshall, said when Webster came to his peroration in his reply to Hayne, that he "listened as to one inspired." He finally thought he saw a halo around the orator's head, like the one seen in the old masters' depictions of saints.

Webster's opponent was John C. Calhoun, senator from South Carolina. Calhoun was the first Southern statesman to mark out the lines of battle and indicate the methods of attack and defense for the supporters of slavery. Graduating with high honours at Yale, in the class of 1802, Calhoun studied law for three years at Litchfield, Connecticut, and then decided to enter politics. In the lecture halls and class rooms, he stood at the very forefront, as orator and logician. One day, in Yale College, Calhoun delivered a speech on an apparently absurd proposition, which he defended with great acuteness. When he had finished, President Dwight said, "Calhoun, that is a brilliant piece of logic, and if I ever want any one to prove that shad grow upon apple trees, I shall appoint you."

Upon the lines of broad patriotism, with reference to the interests of the country as a whole, Calhoun supported the war with England in 1812. From city to city the young[Pg 47] lawyer journeyed, travelling all the way from Charleston and Savannah to Boston and Portland, urging the right and the duty of the Republic to resist England's claim to the right of search of American vessels. Calhoun was widely read in history, he was full of intense patriotism, his arguments were clear, he had unity, order and movement in his thinking, he had the art of putting things, and was a perfect master of his audience. At thirty years of age Calhoun was as popular in Boston as he was later in Savannah and Charleston. In 1824, he was elected Vice-President,—the only man on the ticket to be chosen by popular vote. From that hour until his death he remained a member of the triumvirate that controlled the destinies of the Republic, sharing honours with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

In the South Calhoun was all but idolized. He was tall and slender of person, refined and elegant in manners, carrying with him great personal charm. He was a puritan in his morals, maintained a spotless reputation, and escaped all criticism with reference to private life that was visited upon his competitors. Many a Northern man who went to Congress hating the very name of Cal[Pg 48]houn, the arch-secessionist, was compelled to confess that he had to steel his heart against the charm of Calhoun's speech and personality. The simplicity of his character, the clearness of his thinking, the sincerity and moral earnestness of his nature, all united to lend him the influence that he exerted over men like Oliver Dyer, Webster's friend, who said of Calhoun, "He was by all odds the most fascinating man in private intercourse that I have ever met."

When Webster and Clay came into collision, it was over a subject apparently far removed from the bondage of slaves. If slavery was the spark that fired the magazine for the great explosion in 1861, the tariff furnished the powder. The South produced raw material, and imported all her tools, comforts and conveniences, while the North had free labour, and her educated working classes were good purchasers, and lent generous support to manufacturers. Exporting its raw cotton to England, the South sent its leaders to Congress to ask for free trade with foreign countries, or in any event, a lower tariff. The Northern manufacturers sent their leaders to Congress to ask for protection against foreign woollens, cottons,[Pg 49] and all English tools and French silks, and luxuries. Therefore the interests of the North antagonized the interests of the South. In the South the anti-slavery sentiment had disappeared because of Whitney's cotton gin. As Beecher wittily put it in his Manchester speech: "Slaves that before had been worth three to four hundred dollars began to be worth six hundred. That knocked away one-third of adherence to the moral law. Then they became worth seven hundred dollars, and half the law went; then eight or nine hundred dollars, and there was no such thing as moral law; then one thousand or twelve hundred dollars, and slavery became one of the beatitudes."

The Southern leaders, therefore, wanted free trade with England; the North urged protection, in the interest of the whole country, rather than a group of States. The South believed that Northern politics was selfish; the North believed that the Southern leaders were building up English manufacturers, and weakening their own country! The people became one great debating club, and the dispute waxed more bitter day by day. Every new event seemed to widen the breach. The[Pg 50] war of the Revolution made for unity between North and South, just as the hammer welds together two pieces of red hot iron. The soldiers of the Revolution had marched under the same flag, supported the same Declaration of Independence, and fought for the same Constitution. Slavery in the North had died through inanition, and during the eighteenth century in the South also slavery seemed in process of extinction. But now, in 1830, slavery had become a great source of immeasurable wealth to the South, just as manufacturing had built up the prosperity of the North.

The tariff discussion came to a climax in 1828, through the passing of a customs act, known as the Tariff of Abominations. Sparks falling on ice carry no peril, but sparks falling on the dry prairie cause conflagrations. The news of the passing of the protective tariff created intense excitement in South Carolina. Public meetings were called in all the towns in the land, and protests were made against the execution of the new law. Legislators in the State capital, orators on the platform, editors through their columns, urged nullification. There were two reasons for this growing hostility to protection on the[Pg 51] part of the citizens of Calhoun's State; first the belief that as England was the largest purchaser of cotton, it was to South Carolina's best interest to have English goods brought in free; second the conviction that the tariff was a strictly sectional movement in the interest of the manufacturing North, as opposed to the South with her raw cotton and slave labour.

As a candidate for the vice-presidency in 1828 on the same ticket as General Jackson, Calhoun took no definite step until after the election, when he published a paper showing the evil which the protective tariff was doing the Southern states, and asserting the right to interpose a veto. In January, 1830, having broken with Jackson and abandoned all hope of later obtaining the presidency by his aid, Calhoun decided to test the theory of nullification upon the national theatre. Accordingly, under his direction, Senator Hayne inserted in his speech on the Foote Resolution on the public lands the defense of what was to be known later as the South Carolina Doctrine,—that, if a State considered a law of Congress unconstitutional (as South Carolina asserted the recent tariff act to be) the State had the right to nullify[Pg 52] the law, and, if obedience was sought to be enforced, the right to secede from the Union.

His position has been stated by no one so clearly as by himself, for he spent the next three years perfecting and elaborating his argument. As the basis of his structure he employed a distinction between "a nation" and "a union." England was a nation—the United States was a union. Russia, Austria and Turkey were nations—this republic a union of sovereign states. Prussia was presided over by a king and was a nation—the United States was a republic and the citizens ruled themselves. Calhoun distinguished also between sovereignty and government; sovereignty is a birthright, a natural and inalienable right vouchsafed by God; government is an artificial right established by law. Sovereignty is an inexpungable and inherent privilege; government is a secondary and artificial privilege. When any sovereign State is injured, it has not only the right but the duty to withdraw from the compact that has been broken. The popular notion is that this idea of Secession was originated by Calhoun and was a South Carolina heresy; as a matter of fact, it was first presented in Congress by Josiah Quincy,[Pg 53] and should be called "A Massachusetts heresy."

In 1811, as one of the results of the purchase of Louisiana by Jefferson, a bill had been offered providing for the reception of the State of Orleans into the Union. The people of New Orleans spoke the French language, lived under the code of Napoleon, were monarchial in their sympathy, and Quincy opposed the bill, just as many men to-day would oppose the reception into the Union of the Philippines, the Hawaiians or the Porto Ricans. Mr. Quincy declared that if Orleans were admitted, the several States would be freed from the federal bonds and that "as it will be the right of all States, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must." When the speaker ruled out of order these remarks, Quincy appealed, and the House of Representatives sustained his appeal by a vote of fifty-six to fifty-three. Congress, under the lead of Massachusetts, went on record that "it was permissible to discuss a dissolution of the Union, amicably if we can—forcibly if we must."

Two years later, Henry Clay taunted the Massachusetts leaders with this threat to dis[Pg 54]member the Union. In 1844, Charles Francis Adams, in a speech opposing the annexation of Texas, affirmed the right of the Northern States to dissolve the Union. Even Charles Sumner and Horace Greeley held the same views in 1861. The editor was anxious to "let the erring sisters go," believing that the withdrawal was parliamentary; while Charles Sumner said: "If they will only go, we will build a bridge of gold for them to go over on."

But it was Calhoun who carried the doctrine of Nullification to its full development, and who worked out the theory of sovereignty. In the debate with Webster, on the Force Bill, he stated his argument as follows: "The people of Carolina believe that the Union is a union of States and not of individuals; that it was formed by the States, and that the citizens of the several States were bound to it through the acts of their several States; that each State ratified the Constitution for itself, and that it was only by such ratification of the States that any obligation was imposed upon its citizens.... On this principle the people of the State [South Carolina] have declared by the ordinance that the Acts of Congress which imposed duties under the[Pg 55] authority to lay imposts, were acts not for revenue, as intended by the Constitution, but for protection, and therefore null and void." "The terms union, federal, united, all imply a combination of sovereignties, a confederation of States. The sovereignty is in the several States, and our system is a union of twenty-four sovereign powers, under a constitutional compact, and not of a divided sovereignty between the States severally and the United States."

His attitude towards slavery is illustrated by the remarks he delivered in the Senate. "This agitation has produced one happy effect at least; it has compelled us of the South to look into the nature and character of this great institution of slavery, and correct many false impressions that even we had entertained in relation to it. Many in the South once believed that it was a moral and political evil. That folly and delusion are gone. We see it now in its true light, and regard it as a most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the world. It is impossible with us that the conflict can take place between labour and capital, which makes it so difficult to establish and maintain free institutions in all wealthy and highly civilized[Pg 56] nations, where such institutions as ours do not exist."

Calhoun's attempt to have his doctrine set forth on the floor of the Senate Chamber met a crushing blow. When the hour came, he chose, to present his view, Hayne of South Carolina, who defended the doctrine of nullification with great brilliancy and energy. Hayne took the ground that nullification was the old view always held by Virginia, that it was the doctrine of Thomas Jefferson, and had been urged by Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts itself. He was a most gifted orator. After a century of preparation, at length slavery had chosen its strategic position and drawn the battle line. From that moment it was certain that slavery must go, or that the Union must go. A feeling of apprehension spread over the land. Fear fell upon the hearts of the people. The one question of the hour was whether Webster could answer the Southern orator and sweep away the fog with which Hayne had enveloped the discussion, and make the old Constitution stand out as firm as a mountain, with principles as bright as the stars.

By universal consent Webster's reply is our finest example of forensic eloquence.[Pg 57] The essence of the argument was the right of the majority to control the minority. That one State could nullify and secede whenever the majority outvoted it, practically destroyed the jury system which is embedded in Saxon history, destroyed the right of the majority of the aldermen to control the great city, destroyed the right of the majority of the supreme justices to make their decision. Webster's argument crushed the doctrine of secession, and made the Republic a nation. Thus Calhoun and Webster marked out the line of battle, for when the men in gray and the men in blue met at Gettysburg and Appomattox it was to determine whether Calhoun or Webster was right. Grant's final victory simply stamped with a seal of blood the great charter that Webster's genius had formulated.

In retrospect the wonderful thing about Webster's reply is that his notes were confined to a sheet of letter paper. Afterwards Webster said that it had been carefully prepared, for while there is such a thing as extemporaneous delivery, there is "no extemporaneous acquisition." Not until he entered the Senate Chamber and saw the crowds did he feel the slightest trepidation.[Pg 58] "A strange sensation came. My brain was free. All that I had ever read or thought or acted, in literature, in history, in law, in politics, seemed to unroll before me in glowing panorama, and then it was easy, if I wanted a thunderbolt, to reach out and take it, as it went smoking by." When Lyman Beecher had read Webster's reply to Hayne, he turned to a friend and exclaimed, "It makes me think of a red-hot cannon-ball going through a bucket of empty egg-shells."

From that hour patriotism rose like a flood. For two generations the reply has been to Americans what Demosthenes on the Crown was to the Athenians. Webster placed the nation above the union, made the Nation, in its constitutionally specified sphere of action, sovereign and primary, the States secondary and subordinate. He thus made possible a world-wide victory for free institutions, by which, to-day, democracy and self-government are making thrones totter and tyrants tremble, and giving us the assurance that no government is so stable as a government conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are free and equal. Webster made logical use of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."[Pg 59] The soldiers of Gettysburg exhibited their willingness to defend such a government, to live for free institutions, and if necessary to die for them.

Now that long time has passed, Southerners and Northerners alike concede that Calhoun made three mistakes. He fought against progress and civilization that has destroyed slavery on moral grounds. He also failed to see that slavery was the worst possible system of production, for if the South produced under slavery 4,000,000 bales of cotton in 1861, now that the coloured man is free she produces 15,000,000 bales of cotton per year. His theory of the right of the minority as a sovereign right of secession has broken down at the bar of civilization. If South Carolina or any State has the right to withdraw, whenever the majority of other States outvote it, it means that the minority always has a right to disobey the majority, which means not simply the withdrawal of the one State from the many States, but later, the withdrawal of a few counties from a majority of the counties in that State, giving an endless series of confusions. If any single doctrine is established among civilized nations to-day it is this one, under[Pg 60] democratic institutions—the right of the majority to rule.

Three years later Webster once more marked out the basis of the North's position for all time in a debate with Calhoun himself. Without the magnificent flights of eloquence which distinguished the Reply to Hayne, this speech of February 16, 1833, was filled with close and powerful reasoning. Once and for all he maintained:

"1. That the Constitution of the United States is not a league, confederacy, or compact between the people of the several States, in their sovereign capacities, but a government proper, founded on the adoption of the people, and creating direct relations between itself and individuals.

"2. That no State authority has power to dissolve these relations; that nothing can dissolve them but revolution. And that consequently there can be no such thing as secession without revolution."

The importance of that argument in the history of our country cannot be overestimated. As James Ford Rhodes has put it: "The justification alleged by the South for her secession in 1861 was based on the principles enunciated by Calhoun; the cause was[Pg 61] slavery. Had there been no slavery, the Calhoun theory of the Constitution would never have been propounded, or had it been, it would have been crushed beyond resurrection by Webster's speeches of 1830 and 1833. The South could not in 1861 justify her right to revolution, for there was no oppression nor invalidation of rights. She could, however, proclaim to the civilized world what was true, that she went to war to extend slavery. Her defense therefore is that she made the contest for her constitutional rights, and this attempted vindication is founded on the Calhoun theory. On the other hand, the ideas of Webster waxed strong with the years; and the Northern people, thoroughly imbued with these sentiments, and holding them as sacred truths, could not do otherwise than resist the dismemberment of the Union."

The great crisis that broke Mr. Webster's health and perhaps his heart came through a misunderstanding. In 1850 the discussion over the Wilmot proviso was stirring the Senate; Henry Clay had brought in his series of compromise resolutions, based on the sober belief that the Union was in imminent danger, and that once again the skillful[Pg 62] hand that had penned the Missouri Compromise might turn the country back into the path of peace and prosperity. Calhoun, the second of the great Triumvirate, was already within a month of death. Too weak to read his speech, he was wheeled into the Senate Chamber, to sit with closed eyes while his last haughty, arrogant defense of the South's rights was read by Senator Mason. But the greatest of them all was yet to speak. Webster had the foresight of Civil War, with rivers of blood, and a man on horseback. Influenced by what we now see was the broadest patriotism, he delivered his "Seventh of March Speech,"—the opening words of which disclose a motive and a purpose too often overlooked by his critics. "I speak to-day for the preservation of the Union. 'Hear me for my cause.'" Briefly, his position was this:—that the Union was primary, dealing with the liberties of fifty and later one hundred millions of people,—white men as well as black,—and that the slavery question was secondary, involving an artificial, less important and less permanent institution. He discussed slavery from the view-point of history, with arguments of the philosopher rather than those of the orator.[Pg 63] He defended the compromise measures, with their clause in favour of strict enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, on the ground that the Government was solemnly pledged by law and contract, and, indeed, "had been pledged to it again and again." He closed with that famous paragraph demonstrating the impossibility of peaceable secession. "Sir, he who sees these States now revolving in harmony around a common centre, and expects them to quit their places, and fly off without convulsion, may look the next hour to see the heavenly bodies rush from their spheres, and jostle against each other in the realms of space, without causing the wreck of the universe."

But he had defended the Fugitive Slave Law!—Therefore Abolitionists burned Webster in effigy. Wendell Phillips called him a second Judas Iscariot. Whittier wrote "Ichabod" across his forehead. Horace Mann described him as a "fallen star—Lucifer descending from heaven!" Every arrow was barbed and poisoned. Webster suffered like a great eagle with a dart through its heart, beating its bloody wings upward through the pathless air.

But now that long time has passed,[Pg 64] thoughtful men realize that Webster had studied the fundamental question more deeply, knew the facts better, and saw clearer than his detractors. It is true that he erred when he criticized the Abolitionists on the ground that in the last twenty years they had "produced nothing good or valuable,"—that his words were chosen in a way that irritated the North unduly,—and, more important still, that in his remarks on the Fugitive Slave Law he swerved from the broad statesmanship which distinguished the rest of the speech. But twelve years later Abraham Lincoln read Daniel Webster's Seventh of March Speech, and said Webster was right and Boston was wrong. Lincoln put Webster's position into his letter to Greeley: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save the Union by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save the Union by freeing some, and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear I forbear because I do not be[Pg 65]lieve it would help to save the Union." And to-day, after sixty years, our foremost writers are agreeing that "from the historical view-point Webster's position was one of the highest statesmanship." But the recognition of Webster unfortunately came too late.

As time passed Webster felt more and more keenly the injustice done him. Bitterness poisoned his days, and sorrow shortened his life. When the autumn came, he made ready for the end, knowing he would not survive another winter. One October morning Webster said to his physician, "I shall die to-night." The physician, an old friend, answered, "You are right, sir." When the twilight fell, and all had gathered about his bedside, Mr. Webster, in a tone that could be heard throughout the house, slowly uttered these words, "My general wish on earth has been to do my Master's will. That there is a God, all must acknowledge. I see Him in all these wondrous works, Himself how wondrous! What would be the condition of any of us if we had not the hope of immortality? What ground is there to rest upon but the Gospel? There were scattered hopes of the immortality of the soul, espe[Pg 66]cially among the Jews. The Jews believed in a spiritual origin of creation; the Romans never reached it; the Greeks never reached it. It is a tradition that communication was made to the Jews by God Himself through Moses. There were intimations crepuscular, but—but—but—thank God! the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought immortality to light, rescued it, brought it to light."

Then, while all knelt in his death chamber and wept, Webster, in a strong, firm voice, repeated the whole of the Lord's Prayer, closing with these words: "Peace on earth and good will to men. That is the happiness, the essence—good will to men." And so the defender of the Constitution, the greatest reasoner on political matters of the Republic, fell upon death.

Reflecting upon Webster's unconscious influence as set forth in the words, "I still live," one of his eulogists says that when Rufus Choate took ship for that port where he died, a friend exclaimed: "You will be here a year hence." "Sir," said the lawyer, "I shall be here a hundred years hence, and a thousand years hence." With his biographer let us also believe that Daniel[Pg 67] Webster is still here; that he watches with intense interest the spread of democracy; that he now perceives our free institutions extending their influence around the globe, beneficently victorious in many a foreign state; that he rejoices as he beholds "the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honoured throughout the world, bearing that sentiment dear to every true American heart, liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable."[Pg 68]



In retrospect, historians make a large place for the eloquence of the anti-slavery epoch, as a force explaining the abolition movement. Every great movement must have its advocate and voice. Garrison was the pen for abolition, Emerson its philosopher, Greeley its editor, and in Wendell Phillips abolition had its advocate. Political kings are oftentimes artificial kings. The orator is God's natural king, divinely enthroned. Back of all eloquence is a great soul, a great cause and a great peril. Our history holds three supreme moments in the story of eloquence—the hour of Patrick Henry's speech at Williamsburg, Wendell Phillips' at Faneuil Hall and Lincoln's at Gettysburg. The great hour and the great crisis, the great cause and the great man, all met and melted together at a psychologic moment. In retrospect Phillips seems like a special gift of[Pg 69] God to the anti-slavery period. Webster had more weight and majesty, Everett a higher polish, Douglas more pathos, Beecher was more of an embodied thunder-storm, but John Bright was probably right when he pronounced Wendell Phillips one of the first orators of his century, or of any century.

The man back of Wendell Phillips and the abolition movement was William Lloyd Garrison. This reformer began his career in 1825, as a practical printer and occasional writer of articles for the daily press. Among Garrison's friends were two Quakers, one a young farmer, John Greenleaf Whittier; the other was Benjamin Lundy, who for several years had spent his time and fortune protesting against the slave traffic. Lundy had visited Hayti, to examine the conditions of negro life there,—had returned to Baltimore, where he had been brutally beaten by a slave dealer, and had finally come to Boston to test out the anti-slavery sentiment in New England. He held a meeting in a Baptist church, only to have it broken up by the pastor, who refused to allow Lundy to continue his remarks, on the ground that his position could only be offensive to the South, and therefore dangerous. But Lundy[Pg 70] succeeded in having a committee appointed to consider the problem, and young Garrison was one of its members. A few months later, Garrison was made the editor of a journal in Bedford, where he began to advance more and more radical theories, until a rival editor was irritated to the point of charging him with "the pert loquacity of a blue jay." But Garrison's fidelity to his own convictions, and his courage in airing them in public, had won the respect of the Quaker enthusiast, Lundy, and the old man walked all the way from Baltimore to Bedford to ask Garrison to join him in his work of agitation. A year later the two men, one old and discouraged, the other young and hopeful, both being practically penniless,—started work in Baltimore. Troubles came thick and fast. The slave dealer who had beaten Lundy now attacked young Garrison. Carelessly worded criticisms of a Northern slave dealer from Garrison's own town of Newburyport led to a suit for libel, and a fine of fifty dollars; neither man could raise the money to pay the fine, and Garrison went to jail for forty-nine days. But the youth was full of courage and faith, and in 1831 we find him once more in Boston, start[Pg 71]ing a new paper, that was, if possible, more radical than ever.

In this second venture he was alone, his office was a garret, his only helper a negro boy whom he had freed. His paper was called the Liberator, and the first edition appeared in January, 1831. Garrison registered his sublime vow in his opening editorial: "I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice.... I am in earnest,—I will not equivocate,—I will not excuse,—I will not retract a single inch,—and I will be heard." His battle cry was "Immediate, unconditional emancipation on the soil."

No movement that wrought so great a national convulsion ever had a more feeble origin. The Revolutionary fathers had three million colonists as supporters. The leaders of the Home Rule movement had four millions of Irishmen to back them. Cobden and Bright were supported and cheered on by the manufacturers of Central England. But young Garrison stood alone, with empty hands, a slave boy to support, a hand-press printing a sheet twelve inches square, never knowing where the money for the next edition was to come from. His motto was[Pg 72] "Our country is the world, and our countrymen all men, black or white." The genius of his message was unmistakable: "Is slavery wrong anywhere? Then it is wrong everywhere. Was it wrong once in Palestine? Then it is wrong in all lands. Is a wrongdoer bound to do right at any time? Then he is bound to do right instantly." He distributed his sheets among the merchants of Boston. Beacon Street shook with laughter, for a new Don Quixote had arisen. But from the first the South was alarmed, for that little sheet from the printing-press fell upon the South like the stroke and tread of armed men.

The Liberator soon brought friends to this unknown youth. But in August of this same year, 1831, an event occurred which lifted Garrison,—almost without his being aware of it,—into truly national prominence. This was the Nat Turner rebellion in Virginia,—a negro uprising under the leadership of a genuine African slave who knew the Bible by heart, who claimed to have communication with the Holy Spirit, and who finally employed an eclipse of the sun as a sign to his followers that they were to arise and slay their masters. The massacre which re[Pg 73]sulted lasted forty-eight hours, and sixty-one white people on the neighbouring plantations lost their lives. Retribution followed swiftly, and where the slightest suspicion of guilt was to be found, negroes were shot at sight or burned against the nearest tree. Southampton County saw a veritable reign of terror. A storm of indignation swept over the South; thousands of slave owners living on their great estates, miles from the nearest military station, feared themselves victims of a servile insurrection. The cause of the uprising was at once sought for, and a hundred writers laid the blame at the door of the Boston Liberator. Garrison was indicted for felony in North Carolina. The legislature of Georgia offered a reward for $5,000 to any one who would kidnap him and deliver his body within the limits of the state. With one voice the entire South cried out that the Liberator must be suppressed.

Later it became clear that Garrison's part in the Nat Turner rebellion was nil. The Liberator had not a single subscriber in the South; Nat Turner had never seen a copy of the paper,—and Garrison had been specific in his statements that he did not believe in active resistance to authority, or in the use[Pg 74] of force of any kind. But the storm had broken, and Garrison had to fight his way through it.

Even in Boston Garrison had to face the mob, and meet the scorn of the ruling classes of the city. His movement had no popular support, in the true sense of the word, as it had twenty years later, when Wendell Phillips led the forces of abolition. Cotton was king, and the fear of losing the Southern trade sent the mercantile classes into a panic of fear. Garrison's enemies were by no means confined to the South. He was like David with his sling; and slavery, with all its vassals, North as well as South, was Goliath armed with steel. But for Garrison there were only two words, Right and Wrong, and he would not compromise concerning either.

Within two years he succeeded in organizing in Philadelphia the American Anti-Slavery Society; by 1835 he convinced William Ellery Channing that the time had fully come for an active crusade, and this old minister, with a literary reputation in Europe almost as great as that of Washington Irving, published an abolition book called "Slavery," which is said to have been read by every prominent man in public life. In 1840 the[Pg 75] society numbered not less than 200,000, and the hardest of Garrison's work was done.

But he was to have a potent ally in Wendell Phillips, the explanation of whose career is in his birth gifts. One of his ancestors was a Cambridge graduate, who rebelled against the tyranny of Charles, and exchanged wealth and position for a New England wilderness. It was one of his forefathers who was the first mayor of Boston. Another founded Phillips Exeter Academy. Wendell Phillips himself began his career at the moment when Madison's State Papers had won him the presidency, when John Adams was the glory of the city, when Channing was the light of the pulpit, and Lyman Beecher was the idol of orthodox Boston. He was in his early teens when he waited four hours on a Boston wharf to see Lafayette's boat come in. He was thirteen when he heard Daniel Webster's oration on Adams and Jefferson. He was sixteen when he entered Harvard College, and formed his lifelong friendship with his roommate, John Lothrop Motley. He studied law with Charles Sumner, in the office of Judge Story, a legal star of the first magnitude. He was counted one of the handsomest youths in Bos[Pg 76]ton. There was nothing too bright or too hard for Wendell Phillips to aspire to, or hope for. At the critical moment, when he had to decide upon his future career, ambition sang to him, as to every noble youth. George William Curtis represents Phillips as sometimes forecasting the future, as he saw himself "succeeding Ames, and Otis and Webster, rising from the bar to the Legislature, from the Legislature to the Senate, from the Senate—who knows whither? He was already the idol of society, the applauded orator, the brilliant champion of the eloquent refinement and the conservatism of Massachusetts. The delight of social ease, the refined enjoyment of taste and letters and art, opulence, leisure, professional distinction, gratified ambition, all offered bribes to the young student." The measure of his manhood is in the way he thrust aside all honours and emoluments that stood in the path of duty. Only he who knows what he renounces gains the true blessing of renunciation.

The young orator's attitude towards slavery was determined by the mobbing of Garrison. One October afternoon in 1835 Wendell Phillips sat reading by an open window in his office on Court Street. Suddenly his atten[Pg 77]tion was diverted from the page by voices, angry and profane, rising from the street without. Looking down he saw a multitude moving up the street, and soon found that the multitude had become a mob. Five thousand men were collected in front of the anti-slavery office, and were trying to crowd their way up the stairs in search of Garrison. In another room thirty women were assembled to organize a woman's abolition society. When the women found that the mob wanted to put them out also, they sent a message to Mayor Lyman asking protection. When the mayor arrived with the police, instead of dispelling the mob and protecting liberty of speech, the mayor dispelled the women and protected the mob. Discovering that they had the sympathy of the mayor and would be protected by the police, the lawless element rushed upon the office of the Liberator, smashed in the doors and windows, and dragged Garrison forth. Bareheaded, with a rope about his waist, his coat torn off, but with erect head, set lips, flashing eyes, Garrison was dragged down the street to the City Hall. On every side rose the shout "Kill him! Lynch him! —— the abolitionist!" Asking who the man was, Phillips[Pg 78] was told that this was Garrison, the editor of the Liberator. Meeting the commander of the Boston regiment, of which he was a member, he exclaimed, "Why does not the mayor call out the troops? This is outrageous!" "Why," answered the officer, "don't you see that our militia are also the mob?" It was all too true. The mob was made up of men of property and standing. In that hour Wendell Phillips had his call. In the person of that man dragged down the street with a rope around his waist, the most gifted speaker in Boston had found his client; in the crusade against slavery he found his cause, and soon his clarion voice was heard sounding the onset.

To Garrison's organized agitation, begun in 1832, that soon spread all over the country, must be added a second cause for anti-slavery sentiment,—the murder of Lovejoy. This was on the night of November 7, 1837. The Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was a young Presbyterian minister, a graduate of Princeton Seminary. He began his career as pastor of a little church in St. Louis and editor of the Presbyterian Observer. At that time he was not an abolitionist, and, perhaps because he had married the daughter of a slave owner,[Pg 79] he had taken no strong position either for or against slavery. One day an officer arrested a black man in St. Louis who resisted arrest, and in the mêlée the officer was killed. His friends claimed that the negro was a freeman, and that there was a plot to kidnap him and sell him into the Southern cotton fields, and that he had a right to resist. The real facts will, doubtless, never be known. To slave owners, however, it was intolerable that a black man should resist an officer under any circumstances. A mob collected, the negro was bound to a stake, wood piled round about, and the prisoner was burned to death.

Efforts were made to punish the murderers. In the irony of events the name of the judge was Lawless, and he charged the grand jury substantially as follows: "When men are hurried by some mysterious metaphysical electric frenzy to commit a deed of violence they are absolved from guilt. If you should find that such was the fact in this case, then act not at all. The case transcends your jurisdiction, and is beyond the reach of human law." Of course all the murderers went free. When Mr. Lovejoy commented editorially upon this outrageous charge, en[Pg 80]couraging lynch law, once again the "mysterious, metaphysical electric frenzy" broke forth, only this time it destroyed his printing office. The young minister decided to leave the slave State, and crossed to Alton, Illinois, where there was not only liberty of speech but liberty of the printing-press. But a mob crossed over from Missouri and destroyed his press. Determined to maintain his rights, Lovejoy then brought another press down the Ohio River from Cincinnati. A group of his friends carried the type from the steamboat to the warehouse, but the next night a second mob collected, and when Lovejoy stepped from the building he was riddled with bullets, the warehouse burned, and the press, for the third time, flung into the Mississippi. The news of this murder aroused the continent, filling the South with exultation, and the North with alarm. Slavery, a subject which had long been tabooed, suddenly became the one topic of conversation in the home, the store, the street-car. All editors wrote about it; all Northern pulpits began to preach on the subject. More faggots had been flung upon the fire, and oil added to the fierce flames.

Every explosion asks for powder, but also[Pg 81] a spark. Falling on ice, a spark is impotent, falling on powder, an explosion is inevitable. Wendell Phillips had already been aroused to sympathy with Garrison and hatred of slavery, and news of the murder of Lovejoy fell upon his heart like a spark on a powder magazine. When Boston heard that Lovejoy had been shot by the mob in Alton, Illinois, while defending his printing-press, the leading men of Boston came together in Faneuil Hall. William Ellery Channing made the opening address, and asked that the meeting go on record through an indignant protest against this assault upon the rights of free citizens. James T. Austin, attorney-general of the commonwealth, replied in a bitter and insulting reference to Channing, asserting that a clergyman with a gun in his hand, or mingling in the debate of a popular assembly in Faneuil Hall, was marvellously out of place. Austin compared the slaves of the South to a menagerie of wild beasts, and asserted that Lovejoy in defending them was presumptuous, and died as a fool dieth. He added that the rioters in Alton killed Lovejoy and flung his press into the river in the spirit of the Boston mob that boarded the British ships in 1773,[Pg 82] and threw the tea overboard on the night of the "Boston Tea Party."

That was a great moment in the history not only of liberty, but also in that of eloquence. Wendell Phillips, then but six years out of Harvard College, rose to reply. "A comparison has been drawn between the events of the Revolution and the tragedy at Alton. We have heard it asserted here in Faneuil Hall that Great Britain had a right to tax the colonies. And we have heard the mob at Alton, drunken murderers of Lovejoy, compared to those patriot fathers who threw the tea overboard! Fellow citizens, is this Faneuil Hall doctrine? The mob at Alton were met to wrest from a citizen his just rights,—met to resist the laws. Lovejoy had stationed himself within constitutional bulwarks. He was not only defending the freedom of the press, but he was under his own roof, in arms with the sanction of the civil authority. The men who assailed him went against and over the laws. The mob, as the gentleman terms it (mob, forsooth!—certainly we sons of the tea-spillers are a marvellously patient generation!), the 'orderly mob' which assembled in the Old South to destroy the tea were met to resist,[Pg 83] not the laws, but illegal exactions. Shame on the American who calls the tea tax and Stamp Act laws! Our fathers resisted, not the king's prerogative, but the king's usurpation. To find any other account you must read our revolutionary history upside down. To draw the conduct of our ancestors into a precedent for mobs is an insult to their memory. They were the people rising to sustain the laws and constitution of the province. The rioters of our day go for their own wills, right or wrong. Sir, when I heard the gentleman lay down principles which place the murderers of Alton side by side with Otis and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams, I thought those pictured lips [pointing to the portraits in the hall] would have broken into voice to rebuke the recreant American,—the slanderer of the dead. Sir, for the sentiments he has uttered, on soil consecrated by the prayers of Puritans and the blood of patriots, the earth should have yawned and swallowed him up. Imprudent to defend the liberty of the press! Why? Because the defense was unsuccessful? Does success gild crime into patriotism, and the want of it change heroic self-devotion into imprudence? Was Hampden imprudent[Pg 84] when he drew the sword and threw away the scabbard?"

The next morning young Phillips, like Lord Byron, awoke to find himself famous. Merchants, politicians, who had long been staggering like drunken men, indifferent to their rights, and confused in their feelings, were stunned into sobriety, and began to discuss principles, and weigh characters, and analyze public leaders, and wakening, men found that they had been standing on the edge of a precipice. Phillips, already devoted to the slave, became now his tireless champion through many years, till the emancipation of 1863.

One evening in May, 1854, a negro was seen skulking in the shadows near a dock in Boston. This coloured man, Anthony Burns by name, was a slave, who had escaped from his Southern master, and after weeks had reached Philadelphia, where a Quaker had stowed him away in a ship bound for Boston. A Boston policeman who caught sight of the negro recalled the rewards offered for the capture of slaves, and soon ran the fugitive down, and had him before United States Commissioner Loring. The next morning Theodore Parker hastened to[Pg 85] the court-room to say that he was the chaplain of the Abolition Society, and had come to offer counsel. But the fugitive was afraid to accept the overture, lest his master punish him the more severely.

The news spread quickly throughout the city, and two nights later a meeting in Faneuil Hall was attended by an enormous gathering, aroused to the highest pitch of excitement. Hand-bills had been put out, stating that kidnappers were in the city. The people were in a frenzy. Theodore Parker delivered one of his most impassioned addresses. "I am an old man; I have heard hurrahs and cheers for liberty many times; I have not seen a great many deeds done for liberty. I ask you, Are we to have deeds as well as words?" Parker moved that, when the meeting adjourned, it should be to meet the following morning in the square before the court-house. But he had raised too great a storm to control; a rumour that a mob of negroes was at that very moment trying to rescue Burns was all that was needed to empty the room; and the crowd rushed out to the court-house square. There they discovered a small party of men, led by Thomas W. Higginson, trying to batter[Pg 86] down the court-house doors. The crowd lent them willing hands. But the marshall defended the building,—shots were fired,—Higginson wounded, and several of his followers arrested. Two companies of artillery were at once ordered out by the mayor, and the attempt to rescue the negro met with complete and disastrous failure. Wendell Phillips and Parker were the leaders in the fight. When asked what he would regard as grounds for the return of Burns to his master, Phillips answered, "Nothing short of a bill of sale from Almighty God."

The day of the transfer of the slave to the United States revenue cutter found Boston in a state of siege. Twenty-two companies of Massachusetts soldiers patrolled the city; two rows of soldiers, armed with muskets, shotted to kill, stood on either side of the street through which Burns was to be led to the vessel. The windows were filled with people, the houses hung in black, the United States flags were draped in mourning. From a window near the court-house hung a coffin, with the legend: "The funeral of liberty." The procession itself was composed of a battalion of United States[Pg 87] artillery, one of United States marines, the marshall's posse of 125 men guarding the fugitive, and a small cannon, with two more platoons of marines to guard it. To such a pass had come Boston, with its respect for law, and its reputation for obedience to those clothed in authority. A Charleston paper spoke of the return of Burns as a Southern victory, but added that two or three such victories would ruin the cause. For the movement against slavery was now rising, with all the advance of a tidal wave and a mighty storm.

The public excitement was greatly increased by the Fugitive Slave legislation of 1850 and 1854. Many Northern men who were opposed to slavery in the North condoned slavery in the South. Just as Demetrius urged that by the making of images of Diana "we have our gain," so timid capital in the North bowed like a suitor at the feet of the imperial South, and advised silence, remembering that through the money of Southern planters it had its livelihood. Wendell Phillips went up and down the land stirring up opinion against the law. He spoke three hundred times in one year and two hundred and seventy-five times in another[Pg 88] year. Phillips rose upon the opposition like a war eagle against an advancing storm. Brave men defied the law, organized the Underground Railroad, and in every way possible defeated the purpose of the Fugitive Slave Law. So in 1854 when Senator Douglas engineered through Congress the famous Kansas-Nebraska Bill, repealing the Missouri Compromise, the North refused to accept what was so palpably pro-slavery legislation. This was revolutionary. Instantly the North divided into two camps. The one question of the hour was "Shall a fugitive slave be furnished with weapons with which to defend his person, and has he the right of self-defense?" The whole land became a debating society, and heaved with excitement, like the heaving of an earthquake. The merchant pointed to his ledger, and urged caution. But liberty was stronger than the ledger, and the heaving emotion burst through the statutes and rent the laws asunder. Soon the Fugitive Slave Law, had become a dead letter. The South had gone one step too far. Abolition stood suddenly in a new light; "More abolitionists had been made by this single piece of hostile legislation," said Greeley, "than Garrison[Pg 89] and Phillips could have made in half a century."

For thirty years Wendell Phillips was the crowned king of the lecture platform. It was the golden age of the lyceum. Men had more leisure than to-day. Our era of the drama, music, and travel pictures had not yet come. The winter nights were long, books few, magazines had not yet developed, and the people were hungry for instruction and eloquence. Wendell Phillips achieved the astonishing feat of speaking three hundred times a year. Eloquence is born of a great theme like the woes and wrongs of three million slaves. It is sometimes said that oratory is dying out in our Congress. But Congress is now a board of trade, discussing duties, protective tariffs on wool, cotton, and hides. Beecher and Phillips had a great theme—liberty, the emancipation of millions of slaves. The modern orator in the Senate discusses the mathematics of woolen goods. It is hard to be eloquent over one salt barrel and two piles of cowhides. A sermon or a lecture on topics that fifty years ago would have crowded the greatest room and the street outside would not to-day draw a corporal's guard.[Pg 90]

But in those heroic days, there was a great opportunity, and the opportunity was matched by the man. Phillips was handsome as an Apollo. His voice was sweet as a harp. No man ever studied the art of public speech more scientifically. He played upon an audience as a skillful musician upon the banks of keys in an organ. A Southern slaveholder heard him in the Academy of Music, hating him, but paying him this tribute, "That man is an infernal machine set to music." His method was practically the memoriter method. A gentleman, who heard him give his "Daniel O'Connell" four times in succession, found that the lecture was repeated without the slightest variation whatsoever, in ideas, sentences, inflection of the voice, or even gesture. Phillips prepared his lectures with the greatest care, and then repeated them hundreds of times. From the moment when he came upon the platform his presence filled the eye and satisfied it. His very ease and poise begat confidence and delight. He carved each sentence out of solid sunshine. He stood quietly, made few gestures, adopted the conversational tone and took the audience into his confidence.

Some of his finest effects were produced[Pg 91] by the injection of a parenthesis. Once in an evening sermon in Plymouth Church, when Beecher was urging the reëlection of Lincoln and defending the Republican party, a disputatious individual called out from the congregation, "What about Wendell Phillips?" To which Mr. Beecher made the instant answer, "Wendell Phillips is not a Republican. Wendell Phillips is a radical and an independent. What this country needs is not a man of words but a man of deeds." A few nights later Wendell Phillips was lecturing in the Brooklyn Academy of Music before the St. Patrick's Society, and made his reply in the form of a parenthesis, barbing his shaft with an exquisite inflection of his voice. "Mr. Beecher said last Sunday night (forgetting his own vocation), 'Wendell Phillips is a man of words, instead of a man of deeds.'"

Not that the two men were ever unfriendly, for they were co-workers, standing side by side in the great movement. Once when the trustees of yonder Academy refused to allow Mr. Phillips to speak, Mr. Beecher made it a point of honour with his trustees to let Wendell Phillips speak in Plymouth Church, and ran the risk of the mob destroying the build[Pg 92]ing. The tumultuous scenes of that night, when bricks came through the windows, and the police were stationed in Cranberry and Orange Streets, were repeated all over the land. Again and again Wendell Phillips was mobbed. Once, at the very beginning of his career as an abolitionist, he spoke with an old Quaker. People waited to greet the old Quaker and asked him home for the night; but they pelted Wendell Phillips with rotten eggs as he went down the street in the dark. Afterwards Wendell Phillips said to the old Quaker, "I said just what you did, and yet you were invited home to fried chicken and a bed, while I received raw eggs and stone."

"I will tell thee the difference, Wendell. Thou said, 'If thou art a holder of slaves, thou wilt go to hell.' I said, 'If thou dost not hold slaves, thou wilt not go to hell.'"

But Wendell Phillips would not butter parsnips with fine words. Once in Boston four hundred men surrounded him, got possession of the hall, and jeered him for an hour and a half. Finally he leaned over the desk and shouted down to a reporter, "Thank God there is no manacle for the printing-press." Armed friends rescued[Pg 93] him, guarded him home, and for a week, night and day, the Boston police guarded the house. Those were tumultuous days. But this great man braved and outlived the storm.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was declared, William Lloyd Garrison said nothing remained now but to die. But Phillips opposed the dissolution of the Anti-Slavery Society, because he saw that when the physical fetters were broken, there still remained the fetters of the mind and heart that must be destroyed. So far from ending his labours, Phillips now redoubled his activities. He threw himself into the labour movement and helped organize the working classes into a solid force against capitalism. He took up the cause of suffrage and the higher education of woman, gave himself to the temperance problem and prohibition. He lectured oftentimes two hundred nights a year in the great cities of the land, seeking always to manufacture manhood of a good quality. He became himself our finest example of the power and influence of the scholar in the Republic. And when the end came, he received from his fellow countrymen the admiration and the love that he had[Pg 94] deserved. And the friends who knew him best were not surprised that the last words on his lips were the words of his friend James Russell Lowell, that summarized the ideal that Wendell Phillips had pursued for thirty years.

"New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key."
[Pg 95]



In every country and time, the era of national peril has been the creative era for the intellect. The eloquence of Greece was at its best when Philip attacked Athens and Demosthenes defended its liberties. Dante's poems were born of the collision between the despots who sought to enslave Florence, and the patriots who dreamed of democracy. Milton's songs were written during the English Revolution, when the Puritan, seeking to diffuse the good things of life, and the Cavalier, who wished to monopolize the earth's treasure, came into a deadly collision.

In accordance with that principle it seems natural to expect that the scholars of the Republic should do their best work during the era of agitation, when the national intellect was white hot, and public excitement burned by day and night. The anti-slavery[Pg 96] epoch, therefore, was the Augustan Era of American literature, when the historians, poets and philosophers lent distinction to American literature. At that time Motley was writing his "History of the Netherlands"; Prescott, his "History of Mexico and Spain"; Whittier, his songs of slavery and freedom; Lowell was the satirist of the debate, and was writing his "Biglow Papers," and Emerson, the philosopher, was undermining the foundations and shaking the principles of slavery, even as Samson pulled down the temple of the olden time.

Emerson, the philosopher, did the thinking, and furnished the intellectual implements to the abolitionists. Beginning his career as a preacher, he resigned his position, moved to Concord, and dwelt apart from men, but "as he mused, the fire burned." Easily our first man of American letters, he is among the first essayists of all ages and climes. Essentially, however, he was a man of intellect, an American Plato, "a Greek head screwed upon Yankee shoulders," to use Holmes' expression. His essay upon "The American Scholar," and his book on "Nature," brought him fame in England, and invitations to lecture before their colleges. Early[Pg 97] in his career he won the friendship of Arnold of Rugby, of Matthew Arnold the son, of Arthur Hugh Clough, and of Thomas Carlyle. He returned from his honours in England to find himself the centre of the intellectual movement of New England. A number of younger men gathered around him, until Emerson's group at Concord became like unto Goethe's group at Weimar, and Coleridge's in London. During the late forties American educators, orators and statesmen began to quote the striking sentences from Emerson. Little by little it came about that the fighters went to Emerson as to an arsenal for their intellectual weapons. His first notable contribution to abolitionism was his "Story of the West India Emancipation." Then came his "Essay on the Fugitive Slave Law," his speech on the Assault on Mr. Sumner, his writings on Kansas, and on John Brown. Few men have had such power to condense a statement of philosophy into a single epigram. Grant once said of his soldiers that while each man took aim for himself, Winchester slew all the thousands. Not otherwise, hundreds of orators and reformers went up and down the land attacking slavery, but while the[Pg 98] voices were many, the argument was one, and Emerson for a time did the speaking for the abolitionists.

What Emerson stated in pure white light, Whittier made popular through his poems of Slavery and Freedom. By way of preëminence he was the poet of the abolition movement, and the Sir Galahad among our singers. Reared among the Friends, he had the simplicity of the Quaker, but the solidity and massiveness of the fighting Puritan. Strange as it may seem, he was at once the poet of peace, insisting upon the crime of war, and the poet of freedom, insisting upon the destruction of slavery. The fire and glow, the moral earnestness, the spiritual passion of Whittier, are best illustrated in his "Lost Occasion," and "Ichabod." At length the newspapers of the North took up his work. For some years before the war broke out, scarcely a month passed by without a new poem of liberty by Whittier. Soon these poems that were published in the newspapers were recited in the schools by the children, quoted in the pulpits by the preachers, and used by the orators as feathers for their arrows. Once Wendell Phillips concluded an impassioned oration by reciting one of Whit[Pg 99]tier's stanzas, when a man in the audience shouted, "That arrow went home!" to which Wendell Phillips answered, "Yes, and I have a quiver full of arrows, every one of which was made by a man of peace,—John Greenleaf Whittier." If Emerson's philosophy was like the diffused white daylight that makes clear the landscape for an army, Whittier's occasional poems like "Ichabod" were thunderbolts that blasted forever all compromise and expediency.

Sometimes what the essayist fails to achieve ridicule easily accomplishes. James Russell Lowell was the satirist of the abolition movement. With biting scorn and irony he laughed men out of narrowness, ignorance, and selfishness. During the last epoch in his career Lowell achieved world-wide fame as a diplomat, and was universally admired as the all round man of letters. But now that he has gone, in retrospect, the historian perceives that the first era of Lowell's career was the influential era. He was the Milton of the anti-slavery epoch, as Lincoln was its Cromwell. His influence in England, in developing an anti-slavery sentiment there, was, if possible, more influential than in the home country. The great English editor, William[Pg 100] Stead, tells us that he owes to Lowell's message the influences that made him an editor and a reformer. In the critical moments of his life he found in Lowell the inspiration and support that he found in no other books, save in Carlyle's "Cromwell" and the Bible. "In Russia, in Ireland, in Rome, and in prison, Lowell's poems have been my constant companions." The poet used the story of Moses emancipating the Hebrew slaves as an illustration of the abolitionist as the unknown leader whom God would raise up to lead the three million black men out of Southern slavery. "What God did for the Egyptian bondsmen, he believed God would do; because what God was, God is. He goes on:—

"From what a Bible can a man choose his text to-day! A Bible which needs no translation; and which no priestcraft can close from the laity,—the open volume of the world, upon which, with a pen of sunshine and destroying fire, the inspired Present is even now writing the annals of God. Methinks the editor who should understand his calling, and be equal thereto, would truly deserve that title that Homer bestows upon princes. He would be the Moses of our nineteenth century; and whereas the old[Pg 101] Sinai, silent now, is but a common mountain, stared at by the elegant tourist, and crawled over by the hammer of the geologist, he must find his tables of the new law here among factories and cities in this wilderness of sin, called the progress of civilization, and be the captain of our exodus into the Canaan of a truer social order."

Certain stanzas of Lowell, also, were quoted even more widely, and were ever upon the lips of college students. Many a soldier boy who went to battle from the forest and factory, the fields and the mines, scarcely knew that his inspiration—like Phillip's oratory—was embodied in Lowell's poem, "The Present Crisis":—

"Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

"Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record
[Pg 102]One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind  the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping  watch above His own."

Then came Charles Sumner, the scholar in politics, to make practical the student's message. Daniel Webster's defense of Massachusetts in his reply to Hayne, and his wonderful eloquence in the years which followed that first great address, lifted the old Bay State into unique preëminence in the Senate: when, therefore, Webster left the Senate and entered the cabinet of Millard Fillmore, the North and the South alike asked, with intense interest, who should succeed the defender of the Constitution. That no dramatic interest might be lacking when, in 1851, Charles Sumner entered the Senate chamber to take the oath of office, it came about that Henry Clay, the great Compromiser, left the Senate, going out at one door, on the very day that Conscience, in the person of this Puritan, entered it by the other door. John C. Calhoun, inflexible, iron to the end, adhering tenaciously to his doctrine of secession, had just died, quite unconscious of the fact that[Pg 103] his speeches held the explosives that were to shatter the South and destroy half a million of his beloved people. Clay, too, was death-stricken, and with great pathos referred to himself as "a stag scarred by spears, worried by wounds, dragging his mutilated body to his lair to lie down and die." Webster was now gray and broken, with the shadow of the eclipse already drawing near. In such a moment Charles Sumner began his career by an appeal to the "everlasting yea" and the "everlasting nay."—"I desire to speak to-day of some laws greater than any passed in this capital or this country; older than America, older than India—I mean the laws of God."

Hitherto slavery had been the aggressor, crowding into Texas, edging into Missouri, with bullets forcing its way into Kansas. Freedom had always been on the defensive. Now all was changed, with the coming of a man whose watchword was "Slavery must be destroyed; liberty must be preserved." That cold body called the Senate became immediately conscious of the new influence that entered into the very being of the government, like iron into the rich blood of the physical system. Charles Sumner made it[Pg 104] clear from the beginning that the movement against slavery was from the Everlasting Arm. With expediency he had nothing to do, but only with eternal right and eternal wrong. One day Daniel Webster reminded his young successor of the importance of looking on the other side, indicating that a shield that was gold on one side might at least be silver on the other, to which Sumner replied, "There is no other side." This Boston scholar became a voice for law, "whose seat is the bosom of God, and whose speech is the melody of the world." These eternal laws of God rose up to stay the progress of slavery like the beetling granite cliffs of Maine, that send forth their voice to the onrushing tides, saying, "Here stay your proud waves—thus far, and no farther."

Ancestry, opportunity and events all conspired to equip Charles Sumner with those implements that make man great. Like Phillips, he was a descendant of the early settlers of Boston. His father led the men who delivered Garrison out of the hands of the mob, and who told the excited populace that unless Boston was careful "our children's heads will be broken by cannon-balls." The plastic, critical hours of his youth were[Pg 105] spent in Harvard College and in the law office of Judge Story. Never interested in philosophy and metaphysics, he was surpassed by few as a master of the humanities, general literature, and the story of the rise and progress of democracy and free institutions. Not a man of genius, Charles Sumner was gifted with talent of a very high order. He had, what is perhaps better than genius, a capacity for sustained labour and prodigious industry. He did nothing by halves. In his chosen realm he became a master of the details of every movement related to free institutions, since the days of the republics of Greece and Switzerland, Holland and England. Long after other students had blown out their lights, Charles Sumner's window was still flaming. At a very early epoch he exhibited his tenacity of will and his constitutional inability to change his mind. Once he planned with a companion to walk to Boston on Saturday morning, starting at half-past seven. When the hour struck, a snow-storm was raging. But having decided to go to Boston, to Boston the student went alone, floundering through the blizzard. Snow-drifts were little things, but changing his plan was an impossible thing.[Pg 106] The centre of his character, about which all else revolved, was a certain axis of pride and self-esteem, which may be pardoned, perhaps, in view of the fact that the world takes a man largely upon his own estimate of personal worth.

In those days the atmosphere of Boston was charged with enthusiasm for education and the humanities. Among young Sumner's friends were Prescott, who was writing the history of Spain and Mexico; Bancroft, who was outlining his history of the United States; Story, the jurist; Horace Mann, the educator; Dr. Howe, the father of the movement for the education of the deaf and dumb; Emerson, Longfellow, Channing and Whittier—all were not simply friends but correspondents of Charles Sumner.

Nor must we forget the Boston of earlier days, the Boston of Adams, and Otis, of Warren and Quincy. In such a city, surrounded by the noblest traditions of patriotism, stimulated by the greatest group of scholars that the Republic has produced, Charles Sumner passed his early manhood. Then, remembering that Edward Everett had fitted himself for his work in Harvard University by four years abroad, Sumner, in[Pg 107] his twenty-seventh year, went to Europe. He spent five months in Germany, where the spirits of Goethe, Richter and Luther lingered upon the scene. In Paris he studied French, French art, French literature, French philosophy, and finally attended the debates in the French Parliament, examining the problems with all the care of a member. He lingered long in England, where he was welcomed and lionized by the foremost men of letters, science, philosophy, as well as by the leading clergymen and statesmen of London. He was an honoured guest not at some, but "at most of the country seats of England and Scotland." He travelled the circuits as the companion of the greatest English judges, Vaughan, Parke and Alderson. He met on a familiar footing Macaulay and Grote, Carlyle and Jeffrey, Sidney Smith and Wordsworth. But his great year was in Italy, in the Eternal City, the city of Cæsar and Cicero, the city of Horace and Virgil. In all, Sumner spent thirty years in preparation for his labour. Few men in American politics have had a wider horizon, a better equipment in history and literature, or have known so intimately all the great men in the world of his own generation who were[Pg 108] worth knowing. He went away to Europe an American; he returned a universal man, a citizen of the world.

Not until 1845, when he was thirty-four years of age, did a really great opportunity come to Sumner. Boston at that far-off day made much of the Fourth of July, and looked forward to the holiday as the great event of the year. During the previous autumn the mayor and aldermen of the city invited Sumner to deliver the oration. Webster made John Adams say, "When we are in our graves, our children will celebrate the day with song and story, with oration and pageant, and the explosion of cannon, and greet it with tears of joy and exultation." But unfortunately the speeches of that time had degenerated into false rhetoric, full of insincerity. In his oration, Sumner left the beaten track and plunged into an unknown way. His theme was the crime of war. He attacked his city and his country for spending millions upon fortifications in the harbour. He affirmed that the best protection of a nation was not dead stones but living patriots and heroes. He called the roll of the great wars of history, and found only one or two, like our Revolution, that[Pg 109] were really justifiable. He defined war as the temporary repeal of all the ten commandments, and an enthronement of all the crimes.

In retrospect we know that Sumner overstated his case. His argument against physical force would forbid the police in great cities, the militia on the frontier, and would leave communities exposed to the ravages of brigands on land and pirates by sea. But for the most part, Sumner's argument in favour of peace was sound. To-day all civilized countries are coming to recognize war as a blunder, since questions of justice cannot be settled by brute force.

When we consider that France is an armed camp, Germany and Austria countries of bristling bayonets, that three years at the most critical epoch of the boy's life are consumed in a camp exposed to all manner of temptations and dangers, at the very time when the youth should be mastering his trade or his profession, war seems the capitalization of all the possible follies and wastes. The peasants of Europe plough, each carrying a soldier upon his back. The brick-mason builds, but staggers up the ladder with a heavier load than bricks,—the soldier[Pg 110] upon his back. The symbols of nations are still the lion, the eagle and the wolf. Some political leaders even yet talk about the necessity of an occasional war to put boys upon their mettle, as if invention, the building of railways, the founding of cities, the fighting of economic and social wrongs would not put a man upon his mettle! To put a German on one side of a fence and a Frenchman on the other, and have one peasant empty his shotgun into the bowels of the other is about as noble as going out into a yard and shooting a Jersey cow. The best way to protect a nation is to build boys into men, through the processes of productive industry. Machine gun and dreadnought will soon be as obsolete in the presence of arbitration and the court at the Hague as an ox-cart is obsolete in the presence of a Pullman palace car.

Wendell Phillips once said that Lord Bacon had a right to lay his hand on the steam engine and say to Watt: "This engine is mine; I gave you the method." So Charles Sumner, after sixty-five years, has a right to stand yonder at the entrance of the Parliament House of Peace, now being completed in the capital of Holland, and say: "I laid the foundation stones of this struc[Pg 111]ture and started a war against war." This oration of Sumner's on "The True Grandeur of Nations" made him a most unpopular figure at home, but Europe soon called for his speech. It was translated into many languages, two hundred and fifty-thousand copies were published and sold, and for the time Sumner was the most talked of man of the year.

Now the one man who was not on the defensive, who was not content to merely stay the forward progress of slavery, but insisted on driving it back into the Gulf and ultimately into the sea, to be drowned forever, was Charles Sumner, with his "Carthago est delenda." His favourite phrase was "freedom is national, slavery is sectional." Burke himself, depicting the sufferings of India, scarcely surpassed Sumner's speech on the devastation of Kansas by outlaws and guerrillas. Commenting upon the fact that a company of armed slave owners had crossed the borders at night, and destroyed the homes of a group of Northern settlers, Sumner said: "Border incursions, which in barbarous lands fretted and harried an exposed people, are here renewed, with this peculiarity, that our border robbers do not simply[Pg 112] levy blackmail and drive off a few cattle, they do not seize a few persons and sweep them away into captivity, like the African slave-traders whom we brand as tyrants, but they commit a succession of deeds in which border sorrows and African wrongs are revived together on American soil, while the whole territory is enslaved. I do not dwell on the anxieties of families exposed to sudden assault, and lying down to rest with the alarms of war ringing in the ears, not knowing that another day may be spared them. Throughout this bitter winter, with the thermometer thirty degrees below zero, the citizens of Lawrence have slept under arms, with sentinels pacing. In vain do we condemn the cruelties of another age—the refinement of torture, the rack and thumbscrew of the Inquisition; for kindred outrages disgrace these borders. Murder stalks, assassination skulks in the tall grass; where a candidate for the Legislature was gashed with knives and hatchets, and after weltering in blood on the snow-clad earth, trundled along with gaping wounds to fall dead before the face of his wife."

With speeches like these, Sumner attacked slavery. The edge of his argument was keen,[Pg 113] but his blows had also the power of sledgehammers. The Southern leaders were in a frenzy of anger. Harriet Martineau said of the situation that from 1830 to 1850, by general agreement, men in Congress referred to slavery under their breath, believing that only by silence could the Union be preserved. Now came a man who believed that silence was criminal, who would not be bullied, and would be heard, who believed in the Golden Rule, insisted on the Declaration of Independence, and who, in the name of freedom that was national, wished to destroy the Fugitive Slave Law and bring about the immediate and unconditional emancipation of all slaves on the ground.

When two opposing gases come together, an explosion is inevitable. One day in 1856, after the adjournment of the Senate, a Southern member of Congress entered the Chamber, and finding Sumner seated, with his legs under an iron desk screwed to the floor, and, therefore, helpless for defense, with a heavy walking-stick the assailant beat the powerless man into insensibility, two of his friends protecting him from those who would interfere in his murderous assault. Having lost enough blood to soak through[Pg 114] the carpet and stain the very floor, unconscious, and hovering between life and death, Sumner was carried to a sofa, thence to his hotel. From that time on the scholar endured a living death. He was carried to Paris, where Dr. Brown-Sequard tried "the fire cure" upon the spine. But for years his desk was vacant. Massachusetts insisted that the empty seat should proclaim to the world her abhorrence of the barbarism that, unequal to intellectual debate, betakes itself to clubs and murder. Later on Sumner did return to his seat, but he was broken in health, and to the end was tortured with pain. Nevertheless, despite all the physical distresses, he remained the Puritan in politics, adhering inflexibly to his old ideals of liberty. The great lesson of Sumner's life is the importance of fidelity to conviction and singleness of purpose. All Sumner's speeches in Congress, all his lectures on the platform, his appeals to the people of the North during the years when he travelled incessantly, addressing great crowds all over the land, had a single theme, "Liberty is national, Slavery is sectional; Liberty must be established, Slavery must be destroyed." He had his faults and limitations, but men without[Pg 115] faults are generally men without force. Limitations are like banks to a river; they increase the strength of the current for a mill wheel. Sumner's concentration made his enemies call him a narrow man and a fanatic. But Paul was narrow when he said, "This one thing I do." Luther was narrow when he nailed his theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Garrison was narrow and a fanatic when he said, "I will not equivocate, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard." Rushing between the cliffs of its banks, the Rhine has power through confinement; spreading out over the plains of North Germany, the Rhine becomes a mere marsh, laden with miasm, blown to and fro with the winds.

The tallow candle is small, while the summer lightning flashes across the midnight sky. But for the purpose of studying a guide book in the dark, one lucifer match is worth a sky full of lightning.

Sumner had the courage of his convictions; he was brave as a lion. Having no physical fear, he was devoid also of moral fear. He had the foresight of far-off things, and could look beyond to-day's defeat to the coming victory for his cause. He had many bitter[Pg 116] enemies. His intolerance and intellectual arrogance offended men. When a friend said to President Grant, "Sumner is a skeptic; I fear he does not believe in the Bible," Grant's instant retort was, "Certainly he does not; he did not write it."

But we can forgive much to a man who sacrificed much, and endured the murderous cross of cruelty, obloquy and shame. A lonely and companionless man, at the end, he trod the wine-press of sorrow in solitude and isolation. He had no woman's love to heal his wounded spirit. His one support was the cause he loved. To this cause he clung with a tenacity that was as sublime as it was pathetic. The last time he opened his eyes it was to repeat unconsciously the dearest thoughts of his life, "All humanity is my country." "Take care of my civil rights bill."

When long time has passed, many other great names will pass out of view like tapers that have burned down to the socket. But the name and memory of this Puritan will probably survive, as the highest type of the scholar toiling in the heroic age of the Republic.[Pg 117]



To the work of the statesmen and jurists, the agitators and orators, must now be added the contribution of the editors. A loaf of bread represents many elements united in a single body. The sun lends heat, the clouds lend rain, the soil its chemical elements, the air its rich dust, and the result is the wheaten loaf. Not otherwise is it with the moral and political treasure named the Union and the Emancipation of slaves. The soldier boys at the front stayed the advancing tide of rebellion, and flung back from Pennsylvania waves all tipped with fire. With not less heroism farmer boys at home toiled in the fields to feed and support the boys in blue. Physicians in the hospitals, nurses at the front, lived also and died, caring for crippled heroes. Mothers and daughters, sisters, sweethearts and wives wrought innumerable garments and hospital supplies, while from full hearts giving in[Pg 118]spiration or courageously bearing the miseries of bereavement. Orators went forth to incite, ministers brought divine sanctions to inspire men towards patriotism and self-sacrifice. Statesmen supported the leaders by war measures, manufacturers and bankers stood behind the government. But to all these workers must be added the work of the correspondents at the front, with the editors who consecrated the press to liberty.

The power and wealth of the newspaper of to-day is explained, in no small measure, by the battles of the Civil War, that kindled the interest of millions who had never before read the daily newspaper, but who became after the first battle students of God's book of daily events. During those terrible days men slept in dread and wakened in fear as to what might have happened on the Potomac or the Mississippi. Out of these tumultuous conditions the Sunday newspaper was born. Before the battle of Bull Run people of New York and Chicago frowned upon the Sunday newspaper, just as the people of London and Edinburgh to-day will have none of it. But when there were a million men in arms and the whole land trembled with the thunder of cannon[Pg 119] and the stroke of battle, anxious parents, fearful wives, knowing that the conflict was on, when Saturday's sun set felt that they could not wait till Monday morning for news from the front.

But if the war did much for the press, newspaper men did much for liberty. To supply the people of the country with news from the field, a veritable army of war correspondents was organized, a telegraphic service was organized and built up, plans were laid that developed into the Associated Press. This telegraphic service became a vast and shining web lying all over this land, with wires that trembled by night and day, flashing out now despair, and now hope, to innumerable hearts. Liberty owes a great debt to the press, for it assembled all the people in one vast speaking chamber, and told them how events were going with the slave and the Union.

If we are to appreciate fully the place of the press during the anti-slavery epoch, we must recall the conditions of American life in the olden time. When the colonies revolted and published their Declaration there were in the United States only forty-three newspapers, most of them weeklies. There[Pg 120] were fourteen papers in New England, four in New York State, two in Virginia, two in Carolina and nine in Pennsylvania. The entire forty-three papers, however, held less printed matter than any ten pages of our morning journals. The papers of that time contained no editorials, and were strictly purveyors of the gossip and news of the week, with rude advertisements—now a cut of a horse that had strayed, an apprentice that had escaped, a slave that had run away, enlivened, indeed, by frantic and pathetic appeals for the subscribers to pay up their dues. There were no public libraries, no reading rooms, no inns where men could go on winter evenings and read the papers.

That which starved the newspaper was the lack of facilities for distribution. It cost twenty-five cents to send a letter. Most of the correspondents were widely separated lovers. Romeo, knowing that Juliet would not be able to pay twenty-five cents for his weekly effusion, learned the use of the cypher, and by means of a large circle on the outside of the letter and a pink spot within it succeeded in conveying certain mystic symbols of osculation, that told the story of undying fidelity without paying the post[Pg 121]man for the letter that was left in his hands. The old postman who jogged along between Philadelphia and New York spent three days on the trip, and put in his time knitting stockings. John Adams tells us that it took him six days on the coach from Boston to New York, and that he rose every morning long before day, took his seat in the cold, dark coach, and listened to the creaking of the wheels on the snow until two hours after dark until late Saturday night, cold and exhausted, he entered the little inn near Castle Garden. For these reasons no newspaper had any circulation beyond its own county.

The first railroads that helped distribute the newspapers began to be built about 1836, and the first ship to carry our newspapers to England sailed in 1838. The first telegraphic message was sent from Washington to Baltimore in 1844. The first cablegram in the interest of the press was sent in 1858. Meanwhile the people were isolated, starved, being fully conscious that they were like peasants shut in between mountain walls, while they longed to be citizens of the universe. A single illustration from history will explain the isolation of communities at that time:—the news that[Pg 122] Jackson had been elected President in early November did not reach his own State of Tennessee until after New Year's Day!

Horace Greeley entered the scene at a great crisis for the people, and was raised up to fill a national need. God had prepared the soldiers to fight for the people, the orators to speak to the people, the physicians to heal the people, the educators to instruct the people. He had raised up the statesmen to make the laws, but the world waited for men to cause knowledge to run up and down the land. The common people found a friend in Horace Greeley. He was born in 1811, in Amherst, Massachusetts, near the very cabin in which his forefathers had settled. God gave him a hungry mind, which literally consumed facts of nature and life. Not John Stuart Mill himself was more precocious than Horace Greeley. He was reading without difficulty at three years of age, and read any ordinary book at five. There never was an hour when he was not the best scholar in the little log schoolhouse, where he suffered the long winter through, scorched if he was on the inside circle next to the fire, or freezing if he was on the outer rim.[Pg 123]

Reading was the boy's master passion. Like the locust, he consumed every dry twig and green branch of knowledge. Before he was ten years of age he believed he had read every book that could be borrowed within a radius of six miles. He read the Bible through, every word, when he was five years old; at eleven he had read Shakespeare and Byron. Spelling was at once a taste and an acquisition. The people of his neighbourhood put the child up against other crack spellers in the school districts. It is said that in the old evening spelling-bees, his school-teacher, who had him in charge, had to wake the child up when his turn came around to spell. The trustees of Bedford Academy passed a resolution permitting Horace Greeley, although outside of the district, to enter their school, while a few teachers raised a purse, and made an offer to his father to send the boy to Phillips Exeter Academy. But pride prevented. Horace Greeley's childhood fell on evil days. Men were miserably poor. It was one long warfare with hunger and cold. The ravages of disease among children were really the result of insufficient food in those poverty-stricken times. Although the mortgage on[Pg 124] the farm was a mere bagatelle, the father lost the homestead, and became a hired man on fifty cents a day, on which amount he had to feed and clothe his family. This boy worked by day and studied by night. History and politics, poetry and science, formed the staples of his reading and reflection. For two years he pleaded with his father to apprentice him to a printer; the day that the printer refused the boy and showed the poor farmer and his son the door, brought black gloom to his heart, for when the door of the printing office closed before him, the gates of paradise seemed shut forever.

Trained in the school of experience, and a graduate of the university of hard-knocks, at twenty years of age the boy determined to seek his fortune in New York. There are few scenes more pathetic than the spectacle of this friendless boy starting to walk from Erie, Pa., to this metropolis, then a city of only two hundred thousand people. He had a tow head, a bent form, a singular dress, and carried his entire belongings in a little bundle, supported by a walking stick thrown over his shoulder. Partly on foot, partly on the wagon of some farmer, who gave the traveller a lift, partly on the canal boats,[Pg 125] Horace Greeley made his way until, after many days, in August, 1831, he landed at the foot of Wall Street.

Not Benjamin Franklin, landing on the wharves of Philadelphia, and buying a fresh roll on which he breakfasted while he went about looking for work, is so fascinating a figure as this simple-hearted, unworldly, artless, unsophisticated youth, with the step of a clodhopper and the face of an angel. Counting his coin, the boy found he had ten dollars left, and straightway took lodgings on West Street, for which he promised to pay two dollars and a half a week. He soon found a job and began to set type on an edition of the New Testament, with marginal notes in Greek and Latin. In two years he had his own printing office, and in 1834 the youth found his place as the editor of the New Yorker, a weekly that first of all took stories and the name of Charles Dickens to the people of New York. He soon carried the newspaper up to nine thousand subscribers, and a gross income of $25,000. Genius makes its own way. The world is always looking for unique ability. Horace Greeley had the art of putting things. He could make a statement that would go to the intellect[Pg 126] like an arrow to the bull's-eye. There is always plenty of room for the man who has a gift and can do a thing better than any one else.

But the panic of 1837 bankrupted Greeley, who knew nothing about the business end of his enterprise. He had 9,000 subscribers, but none of them would pay their bills, and the more his paper grew the worse off he was. One day he struck from the roll the names of 2,500 subscribers. A little later he offered to give the entire establishment to a friend, and pay him $2,000 for taking it off his hands, agreeing to work out by typesetting the large debt. Then came an overture from Thurlow Weed and Benedict, and Greeley founded the Log Cabin, a campaign paper advocating the election of General Harrison as president, and sent out the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." Politics was his passion and delight. An ardent Whig, he loved Henry Clay as an enthusiast, and worshipped him like a disciple. The death of Harrison in 1841, therefore, brought another crisis into Greeley's life. Then he founded the New York Tribune. In later years Horace Greeley used to say that the first half of his life was preparatory to founding the Tribune, and the[Pg 127] other half to building up the newspaper that was his pride.

On April 3, 1841, the Log Cabin contained an announcement of the appearance of "a morning journal of politics, literature and general intelligence." It was to be sold for one penny, was to be free from all immoral reports, to be accurate in its statements, impartial in its judgments, unbiassed and unfettered in its opinions. The New Yorker and the Log Cabin were merged in the new journal. The expenses for the first week of the Tribune's existence were $525, and its income $92. Greeley was thirty years old, full of health and vigour, pluck and determination. He never knew when he was defeated, and when events knocked him down, he quietly got up again. In seven weeks the Tribune had a circulation of 11,000. Fertile in resources, full of plans to advertise his journal, he gained 20,000 during a single political campaign. Later he sent carrier pigeons to Halifax to bring home special news. When Daniel Webster was to make an important speech in Albany, he sent a case of type up by the night boat, and when the Albany boat reached New York the report of the speech[Pg 128] was all ready to be locked up for the press. When the heart sings, the hand works easily. Work for the Tribune was literally food and medicine for Greeley. His daily stint was three or four columns, besides his correspondence, lectures and addresses. For twenty years he had no vacation and no rest. His one ideal was to make the Tribune an accurate and trustworthy guide for the political thinking of the common people.

What literature was to Burke, what patriotism was to Webster, what all mankind was to Paul, that politics and political writing were to Horace Greeley. Dr. Bacon once said of a secretary of the State Association of Connecticut that he was "possessed of a statistical devil." And Horace Greeley's Tribune Almanac became so great a power that an envious competitor once said that Horace Greeley was possessed of a political devil, who helped him in his statistics on Protection. At last the Tribune became a national organ, an acknowledged power. Horace Greeley began to make history, and in 1860 prevented Seward's nomination for the presidency. It was Greeley's personal preference for Governor Bates of Missouri[Pg 129] that made possible the nomination of Abraham Lincoln.

As a reformer, Greeley was an extremist in politics. Whatever he wanted, he wanted on the moment, and had no patience in waiting. He was as uncompromising as Garrison, as insistent as Wendell Phillips, and as bitter in his criticism of Lincoln for postponing emancipation as Theodore Parker himself could have been. When the South seceded Greeley said that we must "let the erring sisters go." He thought that the North could do without the South quite as well as the South could do without the North; that is no true marriage that binds husband and wife together with chains when love has fled away. He urged that if any six States would send their representatives to Washington and say: "We wish to withdraw from the Union," the North had better let those States depart. It was not that Greeley felt it was best to dissolve the Union, but that he loathed the idea of compelling States by force to remain in it.

For a long time he carried the head-lines "On to Richmond" and roused the North into such a frenzy of feeling that he goaded the[Pg 130] President, the Cabinet and General Winfield Scott into action before they were ready. Scott was at the head of the army. He was a Virginian, and loved the Old Dominion State with every drop of blood in his veins. The great men of the South on their knees begged Scott to join the South and lead the host of rebellion. Scott answered that he had sworn a solemn oath to defend the Constitution and the country, and made himself an outcast that he might be true to God and the Union. But the cry "On to Richmond" became the cry of an unreasoning multitude of editors and their readers. All unprepared, the advance was ordered and Bull Run was the result. Greeley, being the leading editor of the land, was made the scapegoat—the target of universal criticism. The barbed arrows found his brain, and becoming excited, sleepless and overwrought, Greeley went into an attack of brain fever, from which he recovered only after long time, to register a vow that he would never again discuss the management of the army. Then came his editorials urging emancipation, illustrated by "The prayer of twenty millions," and Lincoln's wonderful reply, written to Greeley, "in deference to[Pg 131] an old friend whose heart I have always found to be right." It is honour enough for any editor to have called out Lincoln's letter (August 22, 1862), a letter that placed the President in the first rank as a master of epigrammatic speech, and put in a nutshell the whole position of the government in relation to the war.

Greeley was wrong again in 1864, when he met certain representatives of the South at Niagara Falls and suggested a plan of adjustment for the ending of the war. These so-called peace commissioners, without doubt, used Greeley as a convenient tool, and exhibited him as Don Quixote, riding forth upon a windmill enterprise. But Greeley had the courage of his opinions; threats could not cow him nor blows terrify him, nor scorn and hate drive him from a position which he had taken upon grounds of conscience and sound reasoning.

During the draft riots, in 1863, the mob attacked the Tribune, smashing the windows and doors, and it seemed a miracle that Greeley was not killed. When his friends rescued him the great editor seemed quite unwilling to be forced into a place of safety. "Well, it doesn't matter; I have done my[Pg 132] work; I may as well be killed by the mob as die in my bed; between now and the next time is only a little while."

In May, 1867, Greeley signed the bail bond for Jefferson Davis, ex-president of the Confederacy. Burning with anger his friends in the Union League Club of New York called a meeting to expel him. He returned a defiant answer: "Gentlemen, I shall not attend your meeting; I have an engagement out of town and I shall keep it. I do not recognize you as capable of judging me. You evidently regard me as a weak sentimentalist, misled by a maudlin philosophy. I arraign you as narrow-minded blockheads, who would like to be useful to a great and good cause but don't know how. Your attempt to base a great and enduring party on the hate and wrath engendered by a bloody civil war is as though you should plant a colony on an iceberg which had somehow drifted into a tropical ocean. I tell you here that out of a life earnestly devoted to the good of human kind, your children will select my going to Richmond and signing that bail bond as the wisest act of my life, and will feel that it did more for freedom and humanity than all of you were[Pg 133] competent to do though you lived to the age of Methuselah. Understand, once for all, that I dare you and defy you. So long as any man was seeking to overthrow our government he was my enemy; from the hour when he laid down his arms he was my formerly erring countryman."

In 1872, Greeley became the Republican who was a candidate of the Democratic party for the presidency, and was defeated by Grant. Doubtless he was actuated by the highest sense of duty. He took the stump and spoke in every great city in the North and South, without swerving a hair's breadth in his pacific attitude towards the South, or in his championship of the coloured race. His great work, "The American Conflict," on which he spent ten hours a day for many, many months, had made Greeley a master of all the facts bearing upon the reconciliation of the North and South. He showed almost superhuman endurance during that intense campaign. But Grant had captured the imagination of the people. The old soldiers voted as one solid band, the Republican party was looked upon as the saviour of the nation, and the people doubted Mr. Greeley's fitness for the presi[Pg 134]dency in a national crisis. He was defeated in November, and went home to watch over his wife during her illness and death. Just before she died, he wrote a friend saying: "I am a broken old man; I have not slept one hour in twenty-four; if she lasts, poor soul, another week, I shall go before her." Sleeplessness brought on brain fever, his old enemy, and on November 29th, the worn-out editor fell on sleep.

His fellow countrymen wakened to realize that the great tribune of the people had left the country poor. His own city rose as one man, in mood of profound grief and affectionate admiration and sympathy. His body lay in state in our city hall the long day through. The poor poured by in unending column, to pay their last tribute to a man who had never betrayed the people. The funeral services were attended by the president and vice-president of the United States, the president-elect, and numerous officials and citizens of distinction. Mr. Beecher made one address and then Greeley's pastor, Dr. Chapin, spoke. Men forgot the wreck of his political fortunes and the tragedy of his later career. He expressed the ambition of his life in the wish "that the stone which[Pg 135] covers my ashes may bear to future eyes the still intelligible inscription: 'Founder of the New York Tribune.'"

A Universalist in his religious faith, Horace Greeley believed that right was stronger than wrong, good more powerful than evil, and that there will be in eternal ages no endless perdition for the evil ones of earth, but that God and all the resources of His power and love will here or there compel every knee to bow and every will surrender to the will divine. He earned the right to say at the end of his noble career, "I have been spared to see the end of giant wrongs that I once deemed invincible in this country, and to note the silent upspringing and growth of principles and influences which I hail as destined to root out some of the most flagrant and pervading influences that remain. So, looking calmly, yet humbly, for that close of my mortal career which cannot be far distant, I reverently thank God for the blessings vouchsafed me in the past; and with an awe that is not fear, and a consciousness of demerit which does not exclude hope, await the opening before my steps of the gates of the Eternal World."[Pg 136]



About 1850, as the result of the long agitation of the editors and orators, preachers and poets, the people of this country entered upon a heated mood, when excitement dwelt like fire in the intellect and conscience. For thinking men, it was becoming clear that civil war was inevitable, and that commercial relations between North and South would soon be broken off. But the North had goods to sell, and the South had money with which to buy; so the word was passed that every one must keep silence about slavery, lest discussion bring on a financial panic. It was the era of imprisoned moral sense. In the ocean, some waves are tidal waves, and on land sometimes the soil is heaved by an earthquake; at this time God began to heave the conscience of the people as the full moon heaves the sea. And although we now see that God was behind the[Pg 137] movement, foolish men then tried to stay these moral forces. Northern merchants and politicians cried, "Peace!" and the Southern successors of Calhoun lifted the old club, the threat of secession; but the agitation went on all over the North. Toombs, the Southern senator, tried sheer bombast, and said he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill monument. Timid men in the North began to cry: "Conciliate, conciliate!" But there can be warfare, and only warfare between darkness and light, between sickness and health, between wrong and right. At length Phillips and Greeley took up the cry: "Let the South go!" But the answer was: "Shall a strong man who has hold of a mad dog let the beast go into a crowd of little children?" Compromise did something for a time, as a safety valve, relieving men's pent-up feelings. But God had His own counsels. Plainly, "every drop of blood shed by the lash was to be paid for by blood shed by the sword," for "the judgments of God are true and righteous altogether."

During those heated days of 1850, when the men of light and leading began to see[Pg 138] their way clearly, the masses were still timid, hesitant and vacillating in their judgments on slavery. Scholars and thinking men had already been reached by poets, authors and editors, while the preachers and lecturers had driven their message home to the conviction of the ruling classes. Later on was to come the revival of 1857 that should stir the conscience, but preparatory to that movement it was necessary to inform the intellect and rouse the affections of the millions. Then it was that God raised up an author to touch the heart of the people.

Wonderful the power of the novel in social reform! The novels of "Oliver Twist," and "Dombey and Son," were what roused the English people to a realization of the woes and wrongs of chimney sweeps, of children in the factories and mines of Great Britain. It was a novel, "All Sorts and Conditions of Men," that later built People's Palace in the Whitechapel district of London. And it was a novel, named "Uncle Tom's Cabin," that created the atmosphere of sympathy in which the flowers of self-sacrifice and heroism unfolded.

The authoress was the daughter of Lyman Beecher, who had seven sons and four daugh[Pg 139]ters, each one of whom was either a preacher or reformer in some field. His daughter, Harriet, married Prof. Calvin E. Stowe, of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, where, on the border between the free soil of Ohio and the slave soil of Kentucky, people were in a state of constant excitement and upheaval. The old Blue Grass State exhibited slavery in its very best condition and also in its worst form. The harrowing tales and incidents that were afterwards worked up into literary form by the gifted authoress were all matters of observation, conversation and experience. One of the earliest incidents of the Stowes' life in Cincinnati was an experience of Professor Stowe with one of the Beecher boys. While travelling in Kentucky, the two young men witnessed the flight of a negro woman, who was running away with her little child, whom they helped across the Ohio River, to be sent on by the Underground Railway to Oberlin, on the shore of Lake Erie. And the similar incident, Eliza's flight across the ice, her son Charles[1] writes in his recent story of her life, "was an actual[Pg 140] occurrence. She had known and had often talked with the very man who helped Eliza up the bank of the river."

Later during their Cincinnati residence, Mrs. Stowe conducted a small private school and made a practice of allowing a few coloured children to attend it. One evening the mother of one of these coloured children came to the Stowes' house in a frenzy of terror, saying that her little girl had been seized and carried to the river, to be sold as a slave in Kentucky. Mrs. Stowe raised the money to ransom the beautiful child.

It was during this period that the Kentucky editor, Bailey, moved across the river and began to publish a paper in Cincinnati. One night the editor knocked at the door of the Stowe home, seeking refuge from a mob that had smashed in his doors and windows, looted his printing-office, and flung his type into the river.

On another occasion a Kentuckian named Van Zandt freed his slaves and carried them across the river into Ohio. His old friends counted him a traitor, and charges were trumped up that he had used his new home in Ohio as an underground station for the receiving of runaway slaves. Professor[Pg 141] Stowe was asked to assist in Van Zandt's defense. When other lawyers were afraid of the mob spirit, a young attorney named Salmon P. Chase volunteered his services without pay. As the courts were then entirely under the influence of the Fugitive Slave law, young Chase lost his case; but that no dramatic note might be wanting, this young attorney later became chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and wrote a decision that reversed the former action. All these and many other facts and events went into Mrs. Stowe's mind as raw silk, and came out tapestry and brocade. The fuel of events fed the flames of enthusiasm. It was a great age, when men had to speak. The time was ripe, the soil was ready, God gave the good seed of liberty, and the sower went forth to sow.

Mrs. Stowe tells us how she came to write the last chapter of the book, the death of "Uncle Tom." She had a coloured woman in her family whose husband was a slave, living in Kentucky. This black man had invented a simple tool, was a good salesman, and was permitted to travel from town to town, and even to cross the river into the Ohio, under no bond save his solemn pledge[Pg 142] to his master not to run away. Mrs. Stowe wrote the letters for her servant, to this black man in Covington, Ky. One day, while visiting his wife, in the Stowe home, he said that he would rather cut off his right hand than break the word he had given to his master. What white man could boast a more delicate sense of truth? How keen and delicate the conscience! What weight of manhood in a slave! What reserves of morality! What latent heroism! The slave's story captured the imagination of the authoress, and kindled her mind into a creative mood.

Out of the incident Mrs. Stowe evolved the character of "Uncle Tom." One Sunday morning, as she sat at the communion table, the picture of Tom's death rose and passed before her mind. "At the same time," writes her son, "the words of Jesus were sounding in her ears: 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.' It seemed as if the crucified but now risen and glorified Christ were speaking to her through the poor black man, cut and bleeding under the blows of the slave whip." Long afterwards some one asked Mrs. Stowe how she[Pg 143] came to write the death of Uncle Tom, and she answered that she did not write it, that God gave it to her in a vision, that she saw the overseer flog him to death, and heard his dying words, and merely wrote down the vision as she saw it. At the time, she had no idea of writing more: it was a year later when she began the tale of which this incident became the crisis.

For nearly two years the story ran in the National Era, published in Washington. The book was completed on March 20, 1852, and in spite of Mrs. Stowe's despondency and apprehension of failure, it sold 3,000 copies the first day, 10,000 in a week, and 300,000 in a year. Save "Pilgrim's Progress" alone, perhaps no book ever had a wider circulation, the Bible, of course, and "The Imitation of Christ," by à Kempis, always excepted. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was translated into German, French, Italian and Spanish, and later appeared in almost every known language. Written for the people at large, the book struck a chord of universal human nature, and aroused the learned as well as the simple. Soon letters began to pour in from the most distinguished men in foreign countries. Charles Dickens wrote that he[Pg 144] had read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with the deepest interest and sympathy. Lord Carlisle sent a message of "deep and solemn thanks to Almighty God, who has enabled you to write this book." Charles Kingsley expressed the judgment that the story would take away the reproach of slavery from the great and growing nation. Men like Shaftesbury, Arthur Helps, women like George Sand and Frederika Bremer added their tribute of praise. Eighteen different publishing houses in England were issuing the book at one time, and a million and a half copies were sold in Great Britain.

Even Heinrich Heine, the poet, the cynic, who carried more power of sarcasm and irony than any man of his generation, was so moved by the book that he seems to have returned to the reading of the Bible, and to Christ the Consoler, in the hour when night and death were falling. "Astonishing! That after I have whirled about all my life, over all the dance floors of philosophy, and yielded myself to all the orgies of the intellect, and paid my addresses to all possible systems, without satisfaction, like Messalina after a licentious night, I now find myself on the same standpoint where poor Uncle[Pg 145] Tom stands—on that of the Bible. I kneel down by my black brother in the same prayer. What a humiliation! With all my sense I have come no farther than the poor ignorant negro who has just learned to spell. Poor Tom indeed seems to have seen deeper things in the holy book than I, but I, who used to make citations from Homer, now begin to quote the Bible as Uncle Tom does!" Praise can go no farther than this, that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has shown how the love of God can support a slave, under the lash, in the hour when he is flogged to death, and fill his heart with pity while he cries, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" It was this that conquered the intellect of the scholar, and broke his heart, and flooded his eyes with tears.

Perhaps the most striking testimony to the influence of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" grew out of a suggestion of Lord Shaftesbury's that the women of England and Europe send their signatures to a testimonial to be presented to Mrs. Stowe, for, when this testimonial came in, it filled twenty-six thick folio volumes, solidly bound in morocco, and it held the names of 562,448 women, representing every rank,[Pg 146] from the throne of England to the wives of the humblest artisans in Wales or the peasants in Italy.

The message of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is so simple that he who runs may read. It was not written for literary critics, for scholars or for college graduates. George Eliot wrote her "Romola" with the historian and the philosopher and the editor of reviews ever in mind. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" for farmers, factory men, merchants and clerks, the miscellaneous mass that make up the millions, to rouse them to the wrongs of slavery.

In it she tried to prove two things. First, that slavery, as a system, reacted upon the loftiest natures, distorting and injuring them. Witness the Kentucky gentleman, Mr. Shelby. His wife was a patrician, the very embodiment of courtesy and good-will, affection and sympathy. Her husband was a man of honour, a representative of the bluest blood of the old Lexington families, with a heart so gentle that the sight of a young bird that had fallen out of the nest in the tree moved him to tears; but, little by little, pressed by his necessities[Pg 147] and hardened by the spectacle of slaves bought and slaves sold, he himself sells the woman who has been a nurse to his children, and Uncle Tom who has been like a saviour to his own boys in the hour of their peril in forest and river, sends both of the slaves into the cotton plantations of Louisiana, breaking his solemn pledge to his wife and his family, in the hope that he could escape from debt, that like a millstone weighed him into the abyss.

Then, the book tries to show how slavery develops the worst men, of the stamp of Simon Legree, the brutal overseer. Legree pours out the vials of his wrath upon the slaves about him, debauching a young octaroon to the level of his mistress, hunting his slaves with bloodhounds, killing them without trial before a jury. Power is dangerous; there is the czar spirit in every man. Slavery made a brute still more brutal—made the sensual man more sensual, and finally debased Legree to the level of the demon.

It is a book full of pathos and tears. Remembering that the book was written for the miscellaneous millions, to rouse the nation at large to moral indignation, it is doubtful whether any book was ever more[Pg 148] perfectly adapted to the end aimed at. Literary artists have criticized "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and contrasted it with "Henry Esmond," "Vanity Fair" and "Adam Bede." But if Thackeray, Dickens and George Eliot achieved unique success in creating books that should reach their set, one thing is certain,—the boys, who afterwards became the soldiers of the Civil War, read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with dim eyes and indignant hearts, because the book found their judgment and their conscience, and lifted them to the point where they were made ready in the day of God's power, to fight the battle for freedom.

When all the school children had read the death of little Eva and of Uncle Tom, and all the farmers and working men—the dwellers in city and country, from seaboard to mountains and prairie—had followed the career of these slaves to the end, and the people of the North were fully awake to the horror of the slave traffic, the multitudes began to look with questioning eyes into each other's faces, asking, "What can be done? What is the next step?" And then it was that a fanatic entered the scene.

His name was John Brown, descended[Pg 149] from Peter Brown, a Pilgrim of the Mayflower. He had been cattle-drover, tanner and wool-merchant. When about forty years of age he was living in Springfield, Massachusetts. One night, in 1849, a runaway slave knocked at his door and told Brown the story of his flight, of the weeks he had spent hiding in the swamps, of his escape to the fastnesses of the mountains, of his life in the forest, and how he finally reached New York and Springfield. It was a story of starvation, hunger, cold, blows and piercing anguish. Long after the children had gone to bed at midnight, while the slave was sleeping in a blanket beside the fire, John Brown sat musing over the national infamy. All the next day and night the conference continued with this runaway, who was also a negro preacher. The following night John Brown assembled his sons. He closed the door and told his family his decision. He was a tall man, over six feet, straight and lithe, slightly gray, with thin lips and smooth face. The Bible was almost the only book in the house, and no sound was so familiar as the voice of prayer. Brown was lifted into the prophetic mood. He told his family that he had decided to give himself, and to[Pg 150] consecrate them, to righting the wrongs of the slaves; that he had heard a voice calling him to the work of the deliverer; that he would be killed, and that they must expect also to die the martyr's death, and that henceforth they must expect only crusts, wounds, bitter enmity, and finally martyrdom. A little later and Brown had moved the younger children of his family to North Elba, in the Adirondack woods, that the slaves on the underground route might be able to hide in the forest, in the event of the pursuers overtaking them. Brown then began to travel along Mason and Dixon's line from the city of Washington through to Topeka, Kan. From time to time he would cross the line, take charge of a little group of slaves, and hiding by day and travelling by night, carry them from one underground station to another. It was said that he had personally conducted runaway slaves along every route for a thousand miles from East to West, between the Atlantic and the Missouri River.

One of the friends of Brown's childhood was the Hon. James B. Grinnell, who founded the town and college in Iowa. This congressman loved to tell the story of the night[Pg 151] when John Brown knocked at his door. Outside was a wagon, packed with slaves, whom Brown had carried across the line from Missouri. He had driven four horses at their limit of speed for a hundred miles and had no defenders, save two or three men and as many guns. "I am a dealer in wool," said the stranger, "and my name is Captain John Brown of Kansas." The first thing Mr. Grinnell did was to find a shelter for these slaves, with food and beds. The next thing was to hide the wagon and the horses in the thick grove near by. Early the next morning the news spread like wild-fire, and the settlers began to pour in. John Brown made a speech to the farmers and justified his act. The villagers were terrified lest the pursuers come any moment and burn their houses. The three Congregational ministers offered prayers, asked for help, and started out to raise money. When the night fell the slaves were rushed to the terminus of the railway and carried through to Chicago, being shipped in a freight car as sheep, to distinguish their woolly heads from the goats, named white men.

In 1855 John Brown led his five sons and their families into Kansas, to help preëmpt[Pg 152] the State for freedom. When at length the free state voters won an election and enthroned their governor, two thousand pro-slavery men from Missouri crossed the State line, burned the little town of Lawrence, and at the point of the pistol compelled the State officials to resign; issued writs for a new election, put in a slavery governor, captured the government, and started back into Missouri. On their way they passed through Pottawatamie. It was a guerrilla warfare. When John Brown reached his son's cabin, he found the settlers preparing for flight. He denounced them as cowards, and when one urged caution, answered, "I am tired of that word Caution. It is nothing but cowardice!" Either the border ruffians had to go, or else the settlers must leave without striking a single blow in defense of their homes. A man's cabin was his castle. Without waiting for the next attack to be made, John Brown pointed the settlers to the smoking ashes of cabins already burned and to the bodies that the Missouri guerrillas had left on the ground, and took the aggressive himself. He seized five of the outlaws and killed them for their crime.

The deed fired Kansas, some say freed[Pg 153] Kansas, while others think it opened the Civil War. Withdrawing to the forest, hiding in the cottonwood swamps, John Brown organized his company. A reporter of the New York Tribune finally penetrated the thicket. "Near the edge of the creek a dozen horses were tied, already saddled for a ride for life. A dozen rifles were stacked against the trees. In an open space was a blazing fire with a pot above it. Three or four armed men were lying on red and blue blankets on the grass. John Brown himself stood near the fire with his shirt sleeves rolled up and a piece of pork in his hand. He was poorly clad, and his toes protruded from his boots. The old man received me with great cordiality, and the little band gathered about me. He respectfully, but firmly, forbade conversation on the Pottawatamie affair. After the meal, thanks were returned to the bountiful Giver. Often, I was told, the old man would retire to the densest solitudes to wrestle with his God in prayer. He said he was fighting God's battles for his children's sake: 'Give me men of good principles, God-fearing men, men who respect themselves, and with a dozen of them I will oppose a hundred such men as these border ruffians.'[Pg 154] I remained in the camp about an hour. Never before had I met such a band of men. They were not earnest, but earnestness incarnate."

After several years of bloody conflict and political struggles between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties, in 1859 the Constitution prohibiting slavery was passed, and freedom had won in Kansas. In January of that year John Brown returned to the mountains of Virginia, and "The Great Black Way," and the dark shadows of the night following the North Star to liberty. For many years he had been planning an uprising of the slaves, and an attack upon Virginia. Some biographers think he conceived the plan as early as 1849. Away back in 1834 Brown wrote to his brother his determination to war on slavery; but at first only through educating the blacks. As time went on he came into sterner conflict with it.

Brown, in fact, became a fanatic who really believed that the millions of slaves would rise at his call, and that he could lead his host as a new Moses, out of the land of bondage. He intended to operate in the Blue Ridge Mountains, because the paths into the black belt of slavery were easily followed.[Pg 155] Men like Douglas and other escaped slaves who were living in the North did not see their way clear to join the movement.

On Sunday, October 16, 1859, John Brown, with sixteen men, started out to capture Harper's Ferry and redeem three million slaves. Brown rode in a one-horse wagon, that held provisions, pikes, one sledge-hammer and one crowbar; his sixteen men, with guns, followed on foot. Without a single shot they captured the armoury and the rifle factory, and at daylight, without the snap of a gun or any violence whatsoever, they were in possession of Harper's Ferry. On Monday morning the panic spread like wild-fire. The rumour went abroad of an uprising of all the slaves of the South. In a few hours the governor called out the militia, Jefferson guards marched down the Potomac, and two local companies took positions on the heights. The assault began in the afternoon. One by one Brown's handful were killed, his two sons, Oliver and Watson, were shot down, and Brown, badly wounded, was captured.

The trial and examination of the old fanatic makes a fascinating story. At noon of Tuesday, the governor of Virginia bent over[Pg 156] him as he lay wounded and blood-stained upon the floor. "Who are you?" asked the governor. "My name is John Brown; I have been well known as old John Brown of Kansas. Two of my sons were killed here to-day, and I am dying too. I came here to liberate slaves, and was to receive no reward. I have acted from a sense of duty, and am content to await my fate. I am an old man. If I had succeeded in running off slaves this time, I could have raised twenty times as many men as I have now for a similar expedition; but I have failed."

Then Governor Wise said, "The silver of your hair is reddened by the blood of crime. You should think upon eternity."

John Brown replied, "Governor, I have not more than fifteen or twenty years the start of you to that eternity, and I am prepared to go. There is an eternity behind and an eternity before, and this little speck in the centre is but a minute. The difference between your time and mine is trifling, and I therefore tell you—be prepared. I am prepared—you have a heavy responsibility. It behooves you to prepare, and more than it does me."

Friends in the North tried to secure Brown's release, but he answered them: "I think I[Pg 157] cannot now better serve the cause I love so much than to die for it, and in my death I may do more than in my life. I believe that for me, at this time, to seal my testimony for God and humanity through my blood will do vastly more towards advancing the cause I have earnestly endeavoured to promote than all I have done in my life before."

When the court asked Brown if he had any reason why he should not be hung, he answered: "This court acknowledges the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible. That book teaches me to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavoured to act up to that instruction. I believe that to interfere as I have done, in behalf of God's poor, was not wrong, but right. I am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country, whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments, I submit. So let it be done."[Pg 158]

On the morning of his hanging he visited his doomed companions, and then kissed his wife good-bye. A thousand soldiers stood round about his scaffold. "This is a beautiful land," said Brown, as he rode, looking across the landscape. As he climbed the steps of the scaffold a negro child stood between some black men, and some say he stooped and kissed the child. And this was his prayer:

"My love to all who love their neighbours. I have asked to be spared from having any weak or hypocritical prayers said over me when I am publicly murdered, and that my only religious attendants be poor, little, dirty, ragged, bareheaded, and barefooted slave boys and girls, led by some gray-headed slave mother.... Farewell, farewell." He died in the spirit of the letter written the day before, when he said, "I think I feel as happy as Paul did when he lay in prison, for men cannot chain or hang the soul."

His deed puzzled the world. For multitudes it is still an enigma. To many, John Brown seems not only a fanatic but a lunatic. To others, now that long time has passed, this white-haired old man, weltering in his blood, which he had spilled for a[Pg 159] broken and despised race, seems right, and he seems to have died, not as a fool dies, but as martyrs die. That his enterprise was doomed to failure in advance, all knew. That it was not the wisest plan, Brown's best friends must grant. But that its fanaticism was overruled by God to release the great South from the incubus of slavery, Brown's friends and Brown's enemies alike must concede.

What other men had been writing about, John Brown did in action. The attack on Harper's Ferry was the first blow struck during the Civil War. Other men and women assembled the explosives, but John Brown dropped the spark in the magazine, which finally blew up that hindrance to progress, slavery—the Hell Gate obstruction in the passageway of the South and of all civilization.[Pg 160]



Strictly speaking, there were three stages in the development of the anti-slavery sentiment leading up to the Civil War. There was the period of indifference, from 1759 to 1830, when the North winked at slavery, ignored the traffic and avoided the whole subject. There was the epoch of agitation, from 1831 to 1850, when Garrison and his friends insisted upon "the immediate and unconditional emancipation of the slaves on the soil," and the agitation was kept up by men who "would not retreat, who would not equivocate, who would not be silent and who would be heard." Then came the stage when men tried legislative palliatives; when all manner of political medicaments and poultices were tried as cures, which were about as effective in destroying the poison as a porous plaster would be to draw out the fire from a volcano. For[Pg 161] more than sixty years a veil had hung before men's minds, and it was as if they saw slaves as trees walking, in an unreal world. The sea captain fears a fog more than an equinoctial storm. When the mist falls, and obscures the glass, and the ship is surrounded with white darkness, and the surf is thundering on some Nantucket, as a graveyard of the sea, the captain longs for a cold, sharp wind out of the North, to cut the fog and bring out the stars and sun. And not otherwise was it with the great debate between Lincoln and Douglas—it lifted the veil from men's eyes, it swept the fog out of the air, it made the issue clear. Then it was that for the first time the North saw that the conflict was inevitable, because the Union could not endure permanently, half slave and half free; saw that liberty and slavery were as irreconcilable as day and night.

Before considering the influence of Lincoln's clear thinking and speaking upon the eternal principles of right, we must note the general reawakening of the popular intelligence which preceded it, and which was due to two causes, the panic of 1857 and the religious revival which swept over the land during the same year. As the Northern merchant be[Pg 162]gan to see that the South had determined to secede and try her fate alone, he became afraid to sell his goods to Southern customers. The Northern manufacturer, in turn, was overstocked, and if the banker called his loans there was no response, for the chain was broken; the result was the panic of 1857. Hunger and Want stalked through the land—Winter and Poverty became bosom friends. Black despair fell upon the people and in the hour of need they cried unto God, and God heard them.

When a nation prospers and grows rich, religion languishes. When nations enter upon disaster and peril, the people turn unto God. Abundance enervates. Morals always sink to a low level when men's eyes stand out with fatness.

What agitation, what the liberator and the lecture platform, what statesmen and compromisers could not achieve, was accomplished by the spirit of God working upon the hearts of men, clarifying the intellect, deepening the sympathy and lending vigour to the will.

The first thing the leader of an orchestra does is to see to it that the instruments are all unified and brought up to concert pitch,[Pg 163] and the revival of religion made the people one in self-sacrifice and their willingness to live and die for their convictions.

Multitudes returned to the churches. Thoughtless youth discovered that there are only two great things in the universe—God and the soul. Personal religion became the supreme interest of the hour. Men went into the crucible commonplace; they came out of it heroic stuff. All over the country the churches were open every night in the week. Moving across the country the traveller saw the candles burning in the little schoolhouses, while the farmers assembled to pray and read God's word. The Fulton Street prayer-meeting in New York attracted the interest of the nation. The morning newspapers of 1858 carried columns concerning the business men's noon prayer-meeting, just as to-day they carry the column on the stock news and the stock market. In his "History of the United States" Rhodes calls attention to the fact that 230 persons joined Plymouth Church on profession of faith on a single Sunday morning. That revival all over the land put its moral stamp upon boys and girls who afterwards became the leaders of the generation.[Pg 164]

Now every reform and every great war for principle proceeds along intellectual lines clearly laid out. Twenty-seven years before the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the "Tariff of Abominations" had brought up the question of the right of the Southern states to secede. Calhoun had set up his famous doctrine, and Webster, in his "Second Reply to Hayne," had knocked it down. The feeling had been intense, but Webster's wonderful oration in defense of the Constitution and the Union had succeeded in meeting the crisis, and settling for a time the vexing problem. Yet the evil of slavery continued its fatal gnawing at the heart of the nation. By 1855-6 the old question was up again in much the same form. The atmosphere was clouded, the black shroud of the approaching storm already discernible on the horizon. A hundred minor problems united in complicating the discussion of the one all-important thing. Another leader was wanted to set the battle in array, to mark out the lines of conflict. Webster and Calhoun were gone, but another was to come to preserve "liberty and union, one and inseparable." This man was Abraham Lincoln, and the opponent who was to call out his clearest expositions of the[Pg 165] situation, and spur him on to his greatest arguments, was Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.

Douglas was born in 1813, in Brandon, Vermont. His father was a physician of great promise, who fell with a stroke of apoplexy at a moment when he was carrying the child Stephen in his arms. The ambitions of the father for intellectual leadership were fulfilled in the son, who at fifteen years of age had attracted the notice of the best minds in his region. Strong men became interested in the boy, and advised his mother to take him to a relative in Canandaigua, N. Y., where there was an excellent academy. At seventeen he entered a lawyer's office, attended every trial before the justice of the peace or the county clerk, and made a local reputation as a student of politics and law. At twenty years of age, he started West, to make his fortune, but fell ill in Cleveland, O., and all but lost his life. A few months later he entered the town of Winchester, Ill., a stranger, in a strange land. He carried his coat on one arm and a little bundle of clothes on the other. There was a crowd on the corner of the street, where an auctioneer was selling the personal effects and live stock of some[Pg 166] settler, and within a few minutes Douglas was engaged as clerk at the auction. At the end of three days he found himself the possessor of six dollars, which was the first money he had ever earned, and what was far more important, he had by his accuracy, good nature and kindliness won the hearts of the purchasers, and attracted the attention of the two or three leading men of the town. That winter he opened a private school, in which forty scholars were enrolled, while he continued his studies of law during the long evenings. Ten crowded and successful years soon swept by, and those years held remarkable achievements. He was admitted to the bar, elected to the Legislature, made Secretary of State, judge of the Supreme Court, and at thirty was sent to Congress. He spent three years in Congress; at thirty-six was chosen to fill out an unexpired term in the Senate, was reëlected to represent Illinois, and a third time was chosen senator—a career of uniform and splendid success from the material view-point.

But the career of Douglas in Washington was the career of an opportunist, at once full of good and full of evil, full of right and full of wrong. He was a born politician, an ex[Pg 167]pert manager of men and a natural machine builder. Many others outranked Douglas in set speeches, but few equalled him in "catch as catch can" methods of the politician. What Douglas prided himself upon was his skill in getting through the committee measures that were difficult to pass. When it became necessary to get a man's vote for his measure, Douglas would put that man up as a leader, give him the glory, obliterate himself, and after the bill was passed, hop up like a jack in the pulpit, as the real manager who manœuvred the bill through the Senate. He spent two years on the legislation that brought about the Illinois Central Railroad, and as long a time in founding the University of Chicago.

Often Douglas did things that he believed to be morally wrong because he discovered that they were politically necessary. For example, a reaction followed upon the election of the Democrat, James K. Polk, to the presidency. When his leadership was imperilled, Polk cast about for some issue that would bring together the remnants of his party, and restore leadership, and he hit upon the device of the Mexican War. No party was ever defeated that was fighting[Pg 168] a war for the defense of the country. Douglas criticized Polk most sharply, charged the war upon Polk as a crime against the people, and yet, under the whip of party policy, Douglas supported Polk. Slowly he deteriorated in his moral fibre. One by one the moral lights seem to have gone out. He was intoxicated by his own success. Ambition deluded him. He began to follow the will-o'-the-wisp, the light that rises from putrescence and decay in the swamp, and forgot the eternal stars in God's sky. In 1854 he entered the valley of decision, and like the rich young ruler made the great refusal, and chose compromise instead of principle. Later Douglas led his party along a false route, and became a mistaken leader.

The circumstances were these; the compromise measures of 1850 had succeeded apparently in achieving the aim of their author, Henry Clay. The close of the year 1853 was marked by political repose and calm. The slavery question seemed practically settled. As President Pierce expressed it in his message, "A sense of security" had been "restored to the public mind throughout the Confederacy." Prosperity was blessing the country, times were good, the future[Pg 169] bright with the promise of immense industrial achievements. In Congress, a bill for the organization of the territory of Nebraska had passed the House at the previous session, and was being reported to the Senate, but the bill was in the usual form and contained no reference to slavery. Suddenly the press announced that Senator Douglas had read a report on this bill, purporting to show that the compromise measures of 1850 had established a great principle; that this principle stated the perpetual right of the residents of new States to decide all questions pertaining to slavery; and that therefore, contrary to the old Missouri Compromise, ruling slavery out of that Northwest territory, it left the slavery question entirely in the hands of the residents of the new territory of Nebraska.

The announcement created a profound sensation. Twelve days later a Kentucky senator by the name of Dixon introduced an amendment to the Nebraska Act, providing for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The daring of this move startled even Douglas, but within a few days the Illinois senator had decided to support the Dixon Amendment. With all the skill and political engi[Pg 170]neering at his command, he steered the bill through the tempest which immediately rose against it like a tidal wave; and on the third of March, in spite of protests which poured in from every State in the North, in spite of indignation meetings held in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, in spite of the opposition of the leaders like Seward, Chase and Sumner, he actually succeeded in persuading the Senate to pass the bill. That he was able to do this, is a great tribute to his powers as a politician and as an orator. He spoke from midnight until dawn, employing every possible trick of rhetoric and logic to carry his point, and showing a courtesy and restraint in his attack which won the sympathy even of his opponents. "Never had a bad cause been more splendidly advocated."

But the victory was a costly one; he had made the Fugitive Slave Law a dead letter in the North; he had introduced a new term, "popular sovereignty," which was to rouse the nation as a red rag rouses a bull. He had started a storm, wrote Seward, "such as this country has never yet seen." Every great newspaper editor in the North,—Greeley, Dana, Raymond, Webb, Bigelow, Weed,—broke into violent protest against[Pg 171] the bill. Not since the fight at Lexington had such a fierce and universal cry of reproach arisen in the land.

And for what had he done all this? Simply that he might increase his chances of obtaining the presidential nomination in 1856. The "solid South" had just begun to be spoken of. Douglas was an acute observer, and he saw that if he could secure the backing of the South, he would have an immense advantage over his rival Cass. It is said that his objection to the Dixon Amendment was overborne solely by the fear that Cass would be before him in supporting it, and thus win the favour of the South. It is the old story of the mess of pottage. Douglas afterwards tried to defend himself on the ground that he was offering to the Democratic party "fresh ammunition," but all knew, and none better than Douglas, that the Democratic party was in no need of a fresh issue. He had ruthlessly destroyed the peace of the whole nation, for the sake of promoting his own selfish interests,—and that, in vain; as in 1853, Douglas failed to secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1856, which was won by Buchanan.

The bill cost Douglas his prestige, and[Pg 172] lost him the confidence of one half the people of Chicago and Illinois. His friends called him home in the hope that he might win back the popularity he had lost. But Chicago would have none of him. He entered the city unwelcomed, had to hire a building in which to speak, advertised his own meeting, and on the day of the meeting found the flags at half-mast, while the church bells tolled the funeral of liberty, where hitherto the bells had pealed the notes of joy.

It is impossible not to admire Douglas's courage in that trying ordeal. He found the hall filled with his opponents, yet he began by saying, "My fellow citizens, I appear before you to vindicate the Kansas-Nebraska Bill." The words evoked a perfect tumult, which continued for half an hour. He appealed to their sense of fair play and honour, but they asked him whether he had played fair with liberty in Washington. Growing angry, he tried to denounce them as cowards, afraid to listen to a discussion, and they answered that it was cowardly to desert a slave who needed a defender. At eleven o'clock he flung his arms in the air and dared them to shoot, because a man had waved a pistol. The crowd answered with a shower[Pg 173] of eggs, while a man shouted that bullets were too valuable to be wasted on traitors. At twelve o'clock the bells rang out the midnight. Douglas pulled out his watch and shouted, "It is midnight. I am going home and to church, and you may go to Hades!" Douglas met a mob in Chicago, just as Beecher met a mob in England. But Beecher conquered his mob in Manchester; the mob in Chicago conquered Douglas. Beecher won, because he was right and the mob was wrong; Douglas lost, because he was wrong and the mob was right. "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all the time; you cannot fool all of the people all of the time" on the great principles of liberty. Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Bill brought on an era of civil war in Kansas, sent the guerrillas over the Sunflower State, burned Lawrence, destroyed the State government and filled the whole land with tumult and bitterness. And it cost Douglas his fame and place among the great men of the Republic.

In that critical hour for liberty, Abraham Lincoln entered upon the scene, and challenged Douglas to a debate. It was in the summer of 1858. Both men were candi[Pg 174]dates for the Senate—Lincoln, the leader of the new Republican party State ticket; Douglas, the best known figure in the land since the death of Clay and Webster. No contrast between two men could have been greater. Lincoln was tall, angular, lanky, awkward, six feet four inches in height. Douglas was short, thick-set, graceful, polished, a man of fine presence, with a great, beautiful head, a high forehead, square chin, perfectly at home on the platform, a master of all the tricks of debate, a born king of assemblies. Lincoln was the stronger man, Douglas the more polished. Lincoln was the better thinker, Douglas the better orator. Lincoln relied upon fundamental principles, Douglas wanted to win his case. Lincoln's mind was analytical, and he loved to take a theme and unfold it, peeling it like an onion, layer by layer. For Douglas, an oration was a pile of ideas, three hours high. Lincoln's voice was a high dusty tenor, with small range, and monotonous; Douglas's voice was a magnificent vocal instrument, extending from the flute-like tone to the deepest roar. Lincoln lacked every grace of the great orator; Douglas had every art that makes the speaker master of his audience. Morally,[Pg 175] Lincoln's essential qualities were his honesty, fairness, and his spirit of good will. Intellectually, he was a thinker, slow, intense, profound, always trying to find a mother principle that would explain a concrete fact. He was reared in childhood on three works—the Bible, Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" and the Constitution of the United States. The style of the parable of Jesus and the simple words of the "Pilgrim's Progress" entered into his thinking like iron into the rich blood of the physical system. His thought was as clear as crystal, his language the simple home words, full of music and old associations. Lincoln knew what he wanted to say, said it, and sat down. Douglas stormed, threatened, cajoled, bribed, and could not stop until he had carried his audience. Lincoln wanted to get the truth out; Douglas wanted to win a crowd over. The one was a statesman, the other was an opportunist, struggling for place. Principles are eternal, and because Lincoln loved principles, Lincoln belongs to the ages. Douglas wanted office, and because the longest office is six years, when the six years were over, the people put another man in his niche; Douglas practically disappeared.

The interest of the people in the seven[Pg 176] great joint debates arranged for this senatorial campaign was beyond all description. Douglas travelled in a special train and car, with a flat car carrying a cannon that boomed the announcement of his arrival. He had the wealth and prestige of the Illinois Central Railroad to support him. Lincoln trusted to some friend to drive him across country, or had to be contented with a seat in a caboose of a freight train, waiting on a switch at a siding, while Douglas's special went whizzing by. The people of each county made the day of the debate a great holiday. From daylight until noon all the converging roads were crowded with wagons, carts and buggies, loaded with people, while other thousands hurried on foot along the dusty road to the meeting place. From the first Douglas knew his peril, in that the eyes of the nation were fixed upon his platform, and that if Lincoln won the debate he won everything. He paid Lincoln the compliment of saying, "He is the strong man of his party, full of wit, facts, dates, and the best stump-speaker, with his droll ways and his dry jokes, in the West. He is as honest as he is shrewd, and if I beat him my victory will be hardly won."[Pg 177]

Very different was the praise that Lincoln gave Douglas, as he contrasted the dazzling fame of the great senator with his own unknown name. "With me," said Lincoln, "the race of ambition has been a failure, a flat failure; with him it has been one of splendid success. I affect no contempt for the high eminence he has reached; ... I would rather stand on that eminence than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a monarch's brow." Douglas's speeches do not read well, and there are no nuggets, proverbs, bright sayings or brilliant epigrams which one can quote. The substance of his speeches was one and the same, for he traversed the same ground in each of the seven debates, urging ever that the new Republican party was simply disguised abolitionism, that Lincoln wanted to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law, establish the equality of the blacks, that this was a threat of war against the South, and therefore revolutionary and sectional. Over against this mark consider the clarity of Lincoln's method of thinking and speaking.

In his address to the convention, accepting the senatorial nomination, he had said: "If we could first know where we are and[Pg 178] whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis has been reached and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."

When the campaign opened he challenged Douglas to the debate, and the critical contest began.

After several meetings, in which the senator proved himself a slippery wrestler, Lincoln determined to force Douglas into a corner. He wrote a question, and with such skill that Douglas was compelled to answer one way or the other, either answer being fatal to his political ambition. When Lincoln read this question to his advisers,[Pg 179] Medill, Washburne and Judd, all begged him not to ask it, saying that it would cost him the senatorship. "Yes, but my loss of the senatorship is nothing. Later on it will cost Douglas the presidency. I am killing bigger game. The battle of 1860 is worth a hundred of 1858." The question with which Douglas was confronted was this: "Can the people of any United States territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limit prior to the formation of a State constitution?"

What a path perilous was this for Douglas's feet! The path up the edge of the Matterhorn is a foot wide, yet it is granite, even if the climber does look down thousands of feet upon his right and thousands of feet upon his left. But Lincoln made Douglas walk not upon a narrow granite way, but on a sharp sword. He who tries to walk a tight rope across Niagara has two alternatives—he either arrives, or he does not. Yonder is Stephen Douglas, trying to walk a tight rope over the Niagara.

Forced to an answer, Douglas finally spoke:

"It matters not what way the Supreme[Pg 180] Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into any territory under a constitution. The people have the lawful means to exclude it if they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere unless it is supported by local police legislation. Those police regulations can only be established by the local legislature; and if the people are opposed to slavery they will elect representatives to that body who will by unfriendly legislation effectually prevent its introduction into their midst; if, on the contrary, they are for it, their legislation will favour its extension." Douglas had decided. Southern newspapers took up his statement and the tide of anger rose against the "little giant" that cost him the presidency. Lincoln had digged a pitfall for unwary feet, and the great opportunist fell therein.

After this, Douglas became bitter, excited, and increasingly angry, for the tide was plainly beginning to run against him. Lincoln's speeches fairly blazed with quotable sentences. "If you think you can slander a woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are satisfied." Again:[Pg 181] "Has Douglas the exclusive right in this country to be on all sides of all questions?" Again: "The plainest print cannot be read through a gold eagle." Again: "Douglas shirks the responsibility of pulling the national house down, but he digs under it, that it may fall of its own weight."

To the astonishment of the country, when the debate was over, Lincoln carried Illinois on the popular vote, although he lost the senatorship through the arrangement of legislative districts that gave the election to the Democrats. Disappointed, Lincoln retained his good humour, and laughed over what he called the little episode. "I feel," said Lincoln, "like the boy who stubbed his toe; it hurt too hard to laugh, and he was too big to cry. But I have been heard on the great subject of the age, and though I now sink out of view and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I am gone."

Lincoln had now become a national figure. In February, 1860, Mr. Beecher and Henry C. Bowen invited him to speak in New York. The first plan was for him to speak in Plymouth Church, but later considerations led to a[Pg 182] change to Cooper Institute. Lincoln arrived in the city late in the week; on Sunday morning he heard Mr. Beecher preach. He sat in the Bowen pew, just back of the Beecher pew, in the morning; in the evening he arrived very late, and sat in a front pew, in the gallery, with Mr. Bowen and a friend who had waited in the hall for Mr. Lincoln's arrival. Lincoln spent the afternoon at the Sunday-school mission, over in Five Points. As the superintendent of the mission was always casting about for somebody to talk to his ragamuffins, he asked the tall stranger if he would say a few words. When they reached the platform, the superintendent asked Lincoln by what name he should introduce him, to which Lincoln gave the answer, "Tell them Abraham Lincoln of Illinois," which was answer enough. The meeting the next day in Cooper Institute was perhaps the most memorable assembly ever held in New York. William Cullen Bryant presided, Horace Greeley sat on Lincoln's right, Peter Cooper close by. "No man," said the Tribune, "since the days of Clay and Webster, spoke to a larger assemblage of the intellect and mental culture of our city. The speech was packed with reason, facts, but[Pg 183] stripped bare of rhetorical flourish. Its keynote was, 'Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.'" Four morning newspapers reported the speech in full, and Greeley called him the Great Convincer, saying no man ever before made such an impression in his first appeal to a New York audience. That speech probably made Lincoln President.

By universal consent, Lincoln's nomination in 1860 is one of the mysteries of politics. Every man of light and leading conceded Seward's nomination in advance, and two-thirds of the delegates went to the convention pledged, while eight of the Illinois delegates were against Lincoln in his own State. The East could not believe that the sceptre could pass from their hands. Special trains from New York carried brilliant banners, and New York bands and drilled clubs marched and countermarched up and down the streets of Chicago. A great wooden wigwam set up for the occasion held 10,000 spectators. The placing of Seward in nomination was wildly applauded. But, to the surprise of everybody, the naming of Lincoln was the signal of an outburst of such en[Pg 184]thusiasm as had never been known. Men held their breath as the votes were registered. Seward had 173½ against Lincoln's 102. As noted in a former chapter, it has been thought that Horace Greeley's standing out for Governor Bates of Missouri made possible the shifting of votes for another Western man. At all events, on the third ballot Lincoln was nominated. Now hundreds of correspondents began to write stories of this great unknown. The next day Wendell Phillips demanded from Boston: "Who is this county court advocate?" But there was a man in Washington who could speak intelligently concerning the great unknown—his name was Stephen A. Douglas.

In that hour Douglas knew the great mistake he had made. The Democratic convention of that year at Charleston split their party asunder; the Southerners clamoring for secession should Lincoln be elected, and nominating John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky; the Northerners standing fast for the Union and compromise, and nominating Stephen A. Douglas; while a "Constitutional Union" party of old-line Whigs nominated John Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln's election was the signal for secession.[Pg 185]

In all the subsequent turmoil, Douglas vigorously sustained the Union and the Constitution, both in Congress and before the people. When Sumter was fired upon, he hastened to pledge his influence to Lincoln as well as to the Union. "There are no neutrals in this war—only patriots and traitors." Douglas hurried back to Illinois to unify the state for the Union; he had borrowed $80,000 for his campaign, and he staggered under the burden of debt. Also he had injured his constitution by excess, and burned the candle at both ends by overwork. But above all else was the thought that he had made the great mistake, and lost his place in history, in saying that he did not care whether a new State voted slavery up or voted slavery down. During his last sickness he murmured incessantly, "Failure—I have failed." His last words were: "Telegraph to the President and let the columns move on."

Douglas died on June 3, 1861, at the age of forty-eight. The lesson of his life is the danger of compromise, the peril of refusing adherence to the highest ideals of principle, and the failure of expediency and opportunism.[Pg 186]

As Douglas's star went down, Lincoln's star began to climb the sky. It was Douglas himself who held Lincoln's hat while he made his first inaugural address. By the irony of fate it was Chief Justice Taney of the Dred Scott Decision who inaugurated Lincoln into office, that Lincoln might later make Taney's decision forever null and void.

And that no dramatic note might be wanted, both Taney and Douglas heard Lincoln plead with indescribable pathos, majesty and beauty, for the very Union whose existence their words had threatened. "Physically speaking, we [the North and South] cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war? You cannot fight always, and after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail[Pg 187] you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it. I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriotic grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

But the great debate through arguments was ended. Henceforth, the appeal was to arms.[Pg 188]



The seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas convinced both the North and the South: but, confirming the one for union and liberty, it confirmed the other for independence and slavery. Lincoln convinced the North that the Union could not endure permanently half slave and half free; on the other hand, the South saw just as clearly that the Union, if it endured, must become all free or all slave. When the men of light and leading in the North fully understood Lincoln's "House-divided-against-itself" speech, they went over to the Republican party, and nominated and elected Lincoln president, that he might put slavery in a position of gradual extinction, by forbidding its future growth. The South acted with even greater energy and decision, by making ready to secede, and arming her citizens for the defense of slavery. The great debate, through words, had lasted thirty[Pg 189] years; now the South made its appeal to regiments of armed men.

At that moment slavery controlled the President, the Cabinet, the Senate and the House. And yet immediately after the election, and before the inauguration of Lincoln, the Secretary of War, Floyd, secretly began the transfer of munitions of war from the nation's arsenals to the Southern States.

Late one December day in 1860, a Southern gentleman hastened to the White House. On the steps he met an old friend who had just left Buchanan. Waving his hat, he shouted, "This is a glorious day! South Carolina has seceded!" That night an impromptu banquet was held in Washington, at which the Southern leaders drank to the success of the slave empire that was to be founded, and talked about a Southern army, a Southern navy, the annexation of Mexico and the West India Islands. Then swiftly followed the secession of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

Almost every week during the winter of 1861 witnessed the spectacle of Southern Senators and Representatives saying good-bye to Congress and announcing the withdrawal of their State from the Union. Those were[Pg 190] days of thick darkness at Washington. Gloom fell upon the North. Already the shadow of the great eclipse was stealing across the face of Abraham Lincoln. It seemed as if the government, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal," was about to "perish from the earth." Hamilton had called the Republic "the last, best hope of earth." Burke had characterized the Constitution "an event as wonderful as if a new star had arisen on the horizon to shine as bright as the planets." Now the star was to fall out of the sky! Up to the day of his inauguration Lincoln could not believe the South would ever fire on the flag, or take up arms against the Union. "We are friends, and not enemies—we must not be enemies." But it was not to be as Lincoln wished. There are some diseases so terrible that they must be cured by the knife and the cautery. Slavery had fastened on the very vitals of the South. Therefore, God permitted the surgery of war.

Lincoln's inaugural address on March 4, 1861, caused a certain solemn hush to fall upon the land. Its logic, the facts it contained, the principles it presented, were so[Pg 191] convincing for the intellect and yet so suffused with pathos and beauty and majesty, that the people, North and South alike, stood uncertain and expectant.

But the silence was premonitory. In summer, after a hot, sultry day, when the great city has exhaled poisonous gases, the clouds are piled mountain high on the horizon. Then a hush comes. Not a leaf stirs. It is hard to breathe. Suddenly one bolt leaps from the east to the west—the precursor of ten thousand fiery darts that are to burn the poison away, and of the heavy rains and winds that will wash the air and make it sweet and clean. On the 12th of April the silence for the nation was broken by the shot fired at Fort Sumter. The bomb that went shrieking through the air was the precursor of a million men in arms, the most frightful carnage, the most terrible war in history, when brother took up arms against brother, and the whole land became one vast cemetery.

It is often said that South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter and began an aggressive war to destroy the Union, before the South was ready. Probably the fact in the case is that South Carolina was trying to "fire the South[Pg 192]ern heart," and force the State of Virginia into the secession movement. The Old Dominion State was naturally a Union State. It was a Virginian who uttered the most impassioned words in the history of liberty—Patrick Henry at Williamsburg. It was a Virginian who led the colonial armies to victory—Washington. It was a Virginian who wrote the Declaration of Independence—Thomas Jefferson. He too, a Virginian governor, made the great protest to King George against the further imposition of slavery by force of arms. He too, a Virginian, the founder of Washington and Jefferson College, had called upon the men of the Dominion State to rise up and destroy the curse of slavery. But from the moment when that shell rose through the pathless air, curved slightly and burst above Sumter, the die was cast. Five days later, Virginia passed her ordinance of secession.

Oh, if the veil could have been lifted from Beauregard's eyes when he began that bombardment! If he could but have seen the riches become poverty, cities become a waste, happy homes a desolation, the Southern hillsides covered with graves, the Southern plantations grown up with weeds, and the whole[Pg 193] secession movement futile, what a vision would have fallen upon the soldier!

On the 15th, President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops. If he had asked for a million, the President would have had them. That shot had kindled a fire of patriotism that swept across the North like a prairie fire. In one day the college students deserted the lecture halls, the students of law and medicine and theology closed their books, the farmer left his plow in the furrow, the woodsman dropped his ax, the carpenter his hammer, and the young men of twenty-three States sprang to arms. What astonished the South most of all was the attitude of Douglas, and the Northern Democrats, who had been confidently counted upon to stand by secession. One Southern fire-eater had said that "Douglas and the Democrats will fight Lincoln and the Republicans, and it will be another case of the Kilkenny cats, leaving the South in peace to build up a great empire." But the first thing that Stephen A. Douglas did was to go to the White House and pledge his support to Lincoln, as did the leading Democrats of the North. "The attack upon Sumter," said Douglas, "leaves us but two parties—patriots and traitors." And[Pg 194] now the war was on,—the one side fighting for the Federal Union and liberty for all men, and the other side fighting for State sovereignty and slavery.

These great events bring us front to front with the question as to how Southern men justified their firing upon the old flag and attacking the Union. Let us confess that men do not make martyrs of themselves unless they have a cause that commands the intellect and conquers the will.

Skeptics used to say that the apostles invented the character of Jesus. As if men first of all invent a lie and inflate a bubble myth, and then go out in support of it to get themselves mobbed, kicked through the streets, thrown from windows, tortured on the rack, crucified and burned alive after incredible heroism for thirty years! To say that the disciples invented the story of Jesus and then martyred themselves for their falsehood is as intellectually stupid and silly as it is morally monstrous! Not otherwise these leading men of the South were men of the loftiest character, of great personal worth, patriotic, high-minded, and they did not devastate their land and martyr themselves for idle abstractions. Here is John C. Calhoun,[Pg 195] ranked by all as one of the triumvirate—Webster, Calhoun and Clay. Here is Gen. Robert E. Lee, of whom Lord Wolsey said that for one State to have given birth to two such men as Washington and Lee was to have lent it immortal renown. Lincoln and Grant and our Northern generals understood the Southern men, sympathized with them, and therefore because the intellect grasped their position, Grant's heart forgave Lee, and made the two friends. To understand this, go to-day to a great battle-field of that conflict and hear the Northern generals and the Southern generals rehearse the story of the Civil War, and you will understand the magnanimity of the Northern leader and the argument of the Southern soldier. History has destroyed the old delusion that secession was a conspiracy, organized by a few malignant leaders. All historians to-day, Northern and Southern alike, concede that it was a great popular uprising of the Southern people.

Indeed, it was not altogether a contest between Northern blood on the one side, and Southern blood on the other.

Twenty-one of the Southern generals who fought for the Rebellion were born in New[Pg 196] York and New England. Eighty distinguished Confederate officers were born north of Mason and Dixon's line, were graduates of West Point, yet these Northern soldiers rejected Webster's argument for the Union, and accepted Calhoun's theory of State sovereignty. On the other hand, many of our greatest Union leaders were Southern men by birth and education, but as Southerners they rejected Calhoun's philosophy, and accepted Webster's. Virginia gave us the commander-in-chief of our army, Gen. Winfield Scott; gave us George H. Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga. The South gave us Farragut, our greatest admiral. Twelve of the commanders of our battle-ships that captured the Mississippi River and made it possible for Lincoln to say, "Once more the Father of Waters goes unvexed to the sea," were Southern men. The South also, through Kentucky, gave us the great President, Abraham Lincoln. It was, therefore, in large measure, a philosophic contest. The Union forces were the disciples of Daniel Webster, whose spirit invisible rode upon the wings of the wind, and whose arm bore the gorgeous ensign, on which were written the words, "Liberty and Union." On the other[Pg 197] hand, the Confederate forces were made up of the disciples of John C. Calhoun, who followed a banner on which the great citizen of South Carolina had inscribed these words, "Sovereignty is natural and inalienable; government is secondary and artificial and can be changed at the will of the people." In terms of cannon and gun, Grant and Lee were the leaders of the two opposing armies, but fundamentally the two armies were led by Daniel Webster on the one side and John C. Calhoun on the other.

Further, Calhoun's influence explains the attitude of the non-slaveholding South towards secession. Of the six million white people in the South, two millions of them did not own slaves, and most of these were opposed to the slave traffic. Thousands of Southerners freed their slaves before the war, and moved into Ohio and Pennsylvania. Other thousands declined to participate in the traffic. A North Carolinian named Hinton Rowan Helper published in 1857 a very striking volume called "The Impending Crisis in the South, and How to Meet It." Dedicated to the non-slaveholding whites, and not on behalf of the blacks, its theme was slavery as a blight upon Southern white[Pg 198] people and their institutions, and a political peril. Not Garrison himself ever made so vigorous and powerful an arraignment of slavery as did this Southerner. Helper pronounced slavery the enemy of invention, the foe of manufacturing plants, an obstacle to the development of the land, a barrier to the progress of the sons of white men. He held that slavery starves to death masters in the long run, while for the moment it seemingly enriches them. Slavery was like sin, it wore the garb of an angel of light; while secretly it sharpened a dagger, with which to stab to the heart the angel of civilization. Within two years this book sold over 150,000 copies, and set the whole South in a fever of unrest. Nevertheless, when the storm broke, the large non-slaveholding element in the South took up arms for the doctrine of State sovereignty. If they resented interference with slavery, it was because slavery was a Southern domestic institution. But this was only an incident; the one thing they wished was the vindication of the sovereignty of each State of the Union, and the right of its people to govern themselves without regard to other States who had the same right of self-government.[Pg 199]

The character of the Southern leaders throws light upon Calhoun's principle. Than Robert E. Lee, what general has been more idolized by those who knew him best? His first ancestor in America was a cavalier who left England rather than endure the tyranny of Charles II. The son of "Light Horse Harry" of Revolutionary fame, he loved the Union. Educated at West Point, he left the institution after four years without a demerit, and won distinction both in the army during the Mexican War, and later as an engineer. He was a man of such probity, purity and lofty character that his followers loved him to the point of worship. He was deeply religious, and the best expression we can use is that Lee, like Enoch, walked with God. He was offered the position of commander-in-chief of the Northern forces. But he could not bear to lead an invading army against his old college, his ancestral homestead, and against Washington's house at Mount Vernon, or become the enemy of his own people in Virginia. On April 17th, Virginia passed her ordinance of secession, and on the 20th, Lee resigned his commission in the United States army, because he could not take part against his[Pg 200] native State,—"in whose behalf alone," he said, "will I ever again draw my sword." By the Calhoun doctrine, Virginia was his country, and no one has ever doubted his sincerity. Lee is the Sir Philip Sidney of the Civil War.

Wellington, the Iron Duke, is reported to have said, "A man of fine Christian sensibilities is totally unfit for the position of soldier." But Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson prayed as they fought; in victory and in defeat alike they turned towards God. Jackson, who won the name of "Stonewall," might have been the son of old Ironsides himself. During his entire career he turned his camps into revival meetings when he was on the Potomac and the Rappahannock, and was a Puritan of Puritans. It is said that literally hundreds of men who entered his regiments, careless, profane, drinking boys, went home to join churches on profession of their faith in Christ. After the battle of Bull Run, Jackson sent a letter home to his Presbyterian minister at Lexington, Va. The people assembled to hear the minister read the letter that would give an account of the conflict. It contained only one sentence: "I forgot to send you my con[Pg 201]tribution for the coloured Sunday-school of which I am superintendent." When Jackson lost his left arm, General Lee wrote to him, "You have lost your left arm, but I have lost the right arm of my army." Eight days after, Jackson lay dying, having been accidentally shot by his own men at Chancellorsville. Suddenly he cried out, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees;" a companion had just read the great general that verse in the Psalm, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God." These two men have been a fountain of inspiration to Southern youth, and their story makes a bright chapter in the history of all heroism.

Southern leaders there were also who opposed secession as inexpedient and wrong. One of the finest exponents of this group was Alexander H. Stephens, a self-made man, inured in childhood to hardship, and made sympathetic through his own struggles. Orphaned at fifteen, he worked his way through college; admitted to the bar at twenty-two, he achieved fame as a lawyer; elected to Congress, he was one of the noted figures in the House of Representatives for sixteen years. His slight physique and his[Pg 202] frail health were sad handicaps. He was dyspeptic, sleepless, a nervous wreck. He ordinarily weighed seventy-two pounds, and during the best years of his life only ninety-two. When in February, 1865, Lincoln met Stephens for a peace conference, he saw the commissioner take off a great outer coat, and unwrap layer after layer of tippet from his throat, peeling down and down, until finally there stood this tiny man. Lincoln whispered to his friend, "Did you ever see so small a nubbin that had so much husk on it?"

Within ten days after the election of Lincoln, Stephens began his campaign against secession. He urged that Lincoln was friendly to the South; that he had neither the desire nor the power to destroy slavery; that John Brown's attack represented the individual and not the millions of the North; that nothing could be gained by haste nor lost by delay, and that the Southern people should heed Lincoln's inaugural. Finally, he despaired; he wrote Toombs that "the South was wild with frenzy and passion—that whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." He afterwards explained his later acquiescence with secession by the statement[Pg 203] that when two trains were running under full steam towards a head-on collision, he got off at the first station.

As vice-president of the Confederacy, Stephens was not always in sympathy with Jefferson Davis; he was very frank in his criticism of the Confederate leader. "While I never have regarded Davis as a great man, or statesman on a large scale, or a man of any marked genius, yet I have regarded him as a man of good intentions; weak and vacillating, timid, petulant, peevish, obstinate, but not firm."

To understand Jefferson Davis, however, we must take a broader outlook.

Rhodes ventures the judgment that if the Pilgrim Fathers had settled in South Carolina they might have held slaves by 1850, and might have fought to maintain slavery; while if the cavalier had settled in Boston, where the snow and the winter are unfriendly to the coloured man, the cavalier would have founded abolition societies. If all scholars do not see their way clear to fully accept Rhodes' statement, they must confess that the Scotch-Irish soldiers that followed Cromwell, and after the restoration of Charles II moved to North Carolina, at last became slave[Pg 204]-holders; while many Southerners, young men who were educated in Northern colleges and married Northern girls, finally freed their slaves and moved North, becoming abolitionists. Circumstances, environment, and association, modify men so profoundly that Buckle believed that climate and grains determine men's civilization.

Again, in 1820, Northern leaders became alarmed at the invasion by slavery of the Northern and Western territories, and Northern representatives threatened to withdraw from the Union if slavery was extended, just as in 1861 the Southern leaders not only threatened but withdrew,—the only difference being this, that the North would rather withdraw from the Union than have slavery, while the South preferred to secede rather than have free labour enforced.

Nor must we forget that Calhoun's principle of the absolute independence of each State in political government is freely accepted by all Congregationalists in church government. In 1875, when a Congregational Association tried to interfere with Mr. Beecher and the government of Plymouth Church, Plymouth told them plainly that every church is an independent and self-governing organization,[Pg 205] that sovereignty is natural and government artificial, and that government by the Association might be transferred but had not been so transferred. The Congregational principle in church government is pure democracy.

But the United States were a federal representative republic, under a constitution; and, to recur again to ecclesiastical illustration, the Presbyterian form of government is representative and federal. The Presbyterians base their government on our political institutions. For the political township, they have a Presbyterian church; for the county, they set up the Presbytery; for the State, they organized a synod; for congress, they organized the General Assembly; for the president, they substituted a moderator.

In politics we believe in representative government, but as to the church, Congregationalists believe in pure democracy, and the independent principle.

Now John C. Calhoun took this Congregational principle and translated it into terms of politics, and called it the States' rights or State sovereignty theory. If John C. Calhoun had been struggling, not for a political theory, but for an ecclesiastical one, Henry Ward Beecher would have backed him to a[Pg 206] finish. If there is any one group of people on earth, therefore, who ought not only to understand but to appreciate John C. Calhoun's argument, they are the Independents. Now for twenty years John C. Calhoun went up and down the South, analyzing his argument, explaining and enforcing it. At the very time Northern boys were reading in their readers Webster's speech for the Union, Southern boys were reciting Calhoun's speech for the independence of the States.

Not in consequence of the Calhoun doctrine but in harmony with it, having always held that the Union was subordinate to the sovereignty of the States, Jefferson Davis, United States senator from Mississippi, became the chief organizer of secession after Lincoln's election. A West Point graduate, a brilliant officer in Indian fights and the Mexican War, a governor of Mississippi, United States senator, a singularly efficient Secretary of War under President Pierce, and again an influential senator, a man of charming personality with many friends, Mr. Davis was so prominent in the secession movement that he was the free choice of the Southern people for president of their Confederacy. And, despite Mr. Stephens' opinion, he probably[Pg 207] did as well in that difficult place as another could have done. To the end of his life he held to the doctrine of State sovereignty.

But one question persistently forces itself into the foreground. Why was it that the people of the North did not "let the erring sisters go," to use Horace Greeley's expression? Just across the Northern line dwells another nation—Canada. Why should there not have been a second nation to the south of Mason and Dixon's line, with Mobile or New Orleans for a capital—a great slave empire, that would have included Texas, Mexico and Central America? The answer is very simple. The Constitution stood in the way. Men saw clearly that if this republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal, could be destroyed by the minority, that would not respect the rights of the majority, there was no hope for civilization save in the revival of despotism, with a monarch ruling the people by military force. The North by a majority of States and votes had chosen Lincoln, with his statement that the Union could not permanently endure, half slave and half free. The minority then answered: "If we cannot have our way, we[Pg 208] will destroy the government." Analyzed, this is seen to be sheer anarchy.

In that hour men remembered what their fathers had endured to found the Republic and free institutions. When the news came of the attack upon Fort Sumter, the better angels of men's natures did touch "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land," and the tones swelled the chorus of the Union. What other land offered poor men an opportunity for office, wealth and honours, with full liberty of thought and speech? Had not the fathers lived and died to make education democratic through the public schools? Had not the fathers given life itself to establish the freedom of the printing-press and freedom of discussion? Had not the fathers bought at great price their political liberty, and the rights of the ballot? Was not the land dedicated to toleration and charity in religion? Was the work of Washington and Jefferson and Hamilton to go down in ruin and nothingness? While the old world, with her tyrannies, scoffed at the failure of the Republic, men thought of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge and Yorktown. They[Pg 209] thought of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They recalled the tribute of one of the greatest of English statesmen, who characterized the American Constitution as "the greatest political instrument ever struck off by the unaided genius of man."

And now the Republic was to be destroyed, the Constitution torn into shreds and stamped under foot, the Declaration of Independence made a thing of jibes and scorn in the palaces of Madrid and Constantinople, while slavery, with black fingers, was to knit its claws into the throat of the angel of liberty and choke the life out. Suddenly men saw that the only way to insure liberty for the white race was to destroy slavery for the black races. Men determined that the majority had their rights, and that these rights should not be wrested away by the minority, fighting in the interests of slavery. Democracy, the "last, best hope of earth," should not fail! In that moment Liberty stretched forth her sceptre of justice, "red with insufferable wrath," and her clarion voice rang to the outermost corners of the land. Three millions of men assembled to swear fealty to God and country. Then they marched away,[Pg 210] through the towns and across the prairies, into thickets and swamps, to be pierced by bullets, torn by shells, to eat crusts, wear rags, shiver in the cold, burn in the heat, famish in the prison, welter in the bloody trench, above them a fiery hail, beside them their dying comrades falling into the arms of death. It is a strange, wild, chivalrous, divine story of the world's greatest enthusiasm, our fathers' enthusiasm for liberty and democracy! What God thinks of freedom, is written in the price that people paid for it! What God thinks of slavery is in the woe and sorrow and wreckage it has always brought upon those who have sought to live on the sweat of other men's faces!

The Russian would not fight against the Japanese because the Russian peasant owned no lands, had no schoolhouse, no ballot box, no free printing-press, no religious liberty. The Russian stood sullenly in the trenches and had to be flogged into the battle. If the Russian peasant lost, he lost nothing, because he had nothing to lose; if the peasant won, he gained nothing, because the Russian aristocrat and the baron took all of the treasure; therefore he would not fight. But the Northern soldier had everything to fight for.[Pg 211] No such treasures were ever thrown on the earth to be struggled for. Liberty and the Union were worth a thousand lives and ten thousand deaths.

It was an awful and a gallant fight, waged by the finest of the world's manhood on both sides. The Southerner fought for local self-government and the right to enslave and govern other men; the Northerner fought for universal self-government and the institutions which had made that possible without injustice to other men. There can be no choice as between the splendid qualities that entered into the contest—of sincerity, earnestness, devotion and fidelity on either side: but the South lost because slavery had eaten out the enduring vigour of its resources; the North won because free labour and the rights of man had given it the greater effective power. At last, the theory on which the South stood for self-justification crumbled under the supreme test.[Pg 212]



One November morning in the White House, Abraham Lincoln kept his Cabinet waiting while he finished reading a newspaper, containing an account of Beecher's speeches in England. At last he laid the paper on the table before them, and in substance said to Stanton, "When this war is fought to a successful issue, this man, Henry Ward Beecher, will have earned the right to lift the old flag back to its place on Fort Sumter, for without these speeches England might have recognized the Confederacy, and then there might have been no flag to raise."

Long time has passed since that Friday morning in the capital, and now all men recognize the justice of the words of the martyred President. History is a stern judge, and the centuries have given opportunity for contrast. When a great country, a great emergency, a critical hour, and a great[Pg 213] man meet, a spark is struck out, called great eloquence. Such a conjunction of city, peril and man once met in Athens, and for twenty-four centuries boys have been translating Demosthenes' oration against Philip. Demosthenes spoke, but Philip marched on. Greece bowed her neck to the yoke, and became subject to Macedonia; Demosthenes failed. Another crisis came in Westminster Hall, in London, when Edmund Burke made his plea for the millions of outraged folk in India pillaged by Warren Hastings. But Hastings became a lord; he died honoured in his palace; India was left to stagger onward; Burke's splendid oratory failed. That was a great hour in the history of eloquence when Patrick Henry and Fisher Ames and Josiah Quincy became voices for liberty and the new republic. But these orators spoke to sympathetic hearers, and simply returned to the multitude in a flood what they had received from the people in dew and rain.

Henry Ward Beecher spoke to mobs, pleaded with unfriendly critics, and was asked to change hate to love, ice to fire, weapons for attack into weapons for defense. He went against the English mob as one goes up against a castle that is locked, barred and[Pg 214] bristling with arms, and he gave sops to Cerberus, charmed the keys out of him who kept the fortress gate, cast a spell upon those who guarded the walls, stole all the weapons, and, single handed, at last lifted the banner of victory above the ramparts of granite. The history of eloquence holds no other achievement of the same rank and class. What a volume, that contains the speech delivered within the limit of nine days, with the introduction at Manchester, the three great arguments at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool, and the peroration in Exeter Hall, London! What physical reserves as the basis of sustained public speech! What mastery of all the facts of liberty and democracy, not less than slavery! What familiarity with English law not less than American! The orator moves across the scene in history like some refulgent planet in the sky. The story of those nine wonderful days makes illustrious forever the history of eloquence and patriotism.

The winter of 1862 and '63, with its high-wrought excitements, brought Beecher the peril of a nervous breakdown. His exhaustion illustrates the fact that some men who stayed at home endured as much as others[Pg 215] who went to the front. Generals and their marching regiments often suffered much, but they were not alone in their fortitude and faith. Women who toiled on farm or in hospital, working men who laboured to support the boys at the front, orators who went up and down the land inciting patriotism in the people, preachers who realized that the breakdown of conscience meant the breakdown of the cause—these all were citizen soldiers who defended the Union and kept the faith.

Among them all no man poured out his life more generously than Henry Ward Beecher. Since 1850, through the intensities of the Fugitive Slave Law, the Fremont campaign, the Kansas troubles, the Lincoln election, the era of secession and the first two years of the war, he had been preaching, writing, lecturing, making public addresses, attending to his great pastorate, and active in every civic and national interest. And during the war, back and forth, across the land, from city to city, in church, hall and armoury, he lifted up his voice in the presence of multitudes, telling the story of the founding of the Republic, showing that the Republic, with its self-government, was the last, best[Pg 216] hope of man, reminding boys that they must fight and live for the Union that their fathers had died to found. When at length Antietam was won, and Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and the rebellion staggered like a giant stunned by a crushing blow, Beecher was lifted into the seventh heaven of hope, and had the vision of coming victory. In that hour he told his people that he was ready to die, that God might peel him, and strip away all the leaves of life, and do with him as He pleased; that he had lived fifty years, that he had had a good time, that he had "hit the devil many blows and square in the face, that it was joy enough to have uttered some words because they were incorporated into the lives of men and could not die."

But we all know that it is possible to stretch the strings of the mental harp too tightly. Excitement burns the nerve as an electric current consumes a wire. During those days Beecher wore a garment whose warp and woof was fiery enthusiasm, and fierce flaming patriotism. The human body is like a cask of precious liquor. One way to drain off the treasure is to knock out the bung-hole, and in a few minutes drain the[Pg 217] rich fountain dry; another way is to bore innumerable apertures, that drop by drop the liquor may waste. And so it was with Beecher, during those exciting days, with this difference, that sometimes it seemed as if one great event would drain out all his life in a tumultuous flood, while at the same time innumerable petitioners taxed his life, drawing away his strength, drop by drop. Alarmed, the officers and friends in Plymouth Church insisted upon rest and vacation. They determined to put the sea between the preacher and his task, planning to lose him for a little time that they might have him for a long time.

The popular opinion is that Beecher went to England, not openly, but secretly as a messenger of the government. Like other myths, the fable grew slowly, but is now well entrenched in the minds of multitudes. There is no foundation for the story. Indeed, Mr. Beecher is on record plainly, stating that no request, no suggestion, no hint, even, came from Washington. At the time, his relations with the Cabinet were strained. Seward was unfriendly. Stanton was hurt by his insistence, through the Independent, upon immediate emancipation.[Pg 218] For a time even Lincoln classed him with Horace Greeley, as extremist. His editorials during the spring of 1862 had one thought, "Carthago delenda est." It was only after Lincoln came around by a gunboat into New York Harbour, and secretly met General Winfield Scott in a friend's house, and had another secret interview with Henry Ward Beecher, and returned (letters exist from Secretary Hay, following an interview with him over the records in Washington, which establish this trip to New York to see Scott and Beecher), that Beecher changed the tone of his editorials, and went over to Lincoln's position,—that the Union was first, and the destruction of slavery the secondary thing. The Great Emancipator loved and trusted Beecher, but the Cabinet was critical, and Lincoln, as he said, "did not have much influence with the administration."

The only power and the whole power behind Beecher was that of Plymouth Church, that gave him the money for all of his expenses, and took from him a pledge that if he spoke at all he was to speak at their expense, but under no circumstances to either preach or lecture until he had recovered his strength. He was ill during the[Pg 219] entire voyage, and was not able to appear on deck until the vessel entered the Mersey. The news of Beecher's coming had preceded him, and on opening the papers he found even church leaders antagonistic. They deplored his coming, lest he increase the excitement. The nobility was in favour of the South, as were the ship-builders, the mill-owners, the bankers and all who had investments or loans in the cotton industry of England and of the South.

One hundred and fifty Congregational ministers greeted Beecher with a breakfast in London. They asked him to preach and speak on religious topics, but to avoid all reference to slavery on account of the inflamed condition of the English mind. The man who introduced him deplored the war, and described the patience of God in permitting the North to go on. When Beecher arose to speak he was in a towering rage. He told them that he would neither preach nor lecture nor speak in a mother land that was openly hostile to her own daughter, and unfriendly to every principle of liberty that was dear to England and embedded in English tradition and history.

In substance, he said: "Your conscience[Pg 220] here in England is very sensitive on the subject of war, providing some one else is fighting the war, but England has no conscience at all as to war when she is prosecuting the campaign." At that very hour England was fighting a war in Japan, and a war in China, and a war in New Zealand for territory. Three wars being quite proper, if England fought them, but oh, the patience of God in permitting the North to exist even for one moment, while fighting for liberty, the Union and the emancipation of slaves! He told them that they thought it was a crime for the North to have a war for emancipation, but quite proper for England to threaten a war over two men named Mason and Slidell! Beecher understood Old England. No nation in history ever conducted so many wars. No other nation's statesmen ever had such skill to invent moral excuses for seizing territory, in Africa, Egypt, India, Thibet, Australia, New Zealand and all the islands of the sea. He best described it in his final speech in London, when returned from the Continent: "On what shore has not the prow of your ships dashed? What land is there with a name and a people where your banner has[Pg 221] not led your soldiers? And when the great reveillé shall sound, it will muster British soldiers from every clime and people under the whole heaven." What? "Speak in England on religion and keep still on slavery, and the North and the South?" When an engine is full of steam, it is a bad thing to sit on its safety-valve. Figuratively speaking, the chairman and the hundred and fifty ministers, who were trying to get Beecher to speak on religion and keep still on slavery, sat passively and serenely on the safety-valve for about five minutes, but finally the engine blew up. Mr. Beecher was not the man to stifle his convictions in the name of peace, for he knew that in an evil world a good man has no right to dwell at peace with the devil and his minions. So he declared his hostility, turned his back on England, and went to the Continent; and thus ended the first chapter in the European trip.

Looking backward, it is easy to discover the explanation of England's attitude towards slavery and the Southern leaders. During the early forties England had herself passed through an industrial revolution. Because she had little agricultural land, and thirty[Pg 222] millions of people, the cost of living was high. When the cry of the people for bread became bitter, Cobden, Bright and their associates inaugurated and carried through the Free Corn Movement. With the incoming of free raw materials England became the great manufacturing centre. What her farmers lost through free trade in selling grain they gained in the lowered price on which they bought. Within ten years after the victory of free trade England became a hive of industry, filled with clustering cities, while the whole land resounded with the stroke of engines. Abundance succeeded to poverty and work trod closely upon the heels of want. So prosperous had England become that by 1860 she was importing two million bales of cotton from Southern States. The shipyards of Glasgow built ships to carry cotton, the bankers in London made loans to Southern planters, the mill-owners in Manchester bought shares in the Southern cotton fields. The rich men of the South were constant guests of the mill-owners in Central England and of the bankers in London. Little by little England was drawn in through financial channels, and cast her lot in with the production of cotton,—and slavery.[Pg 223]

Then came the Civil War. The planters went to the front with Lee's army; the slaves freed from overseers would not work. The production of cotton was halved. The Northern navy blockaded the exit of cotton ships from the Southern ports. English ships hung around the Southern shores trying in vain to find access, hoping to run the gauntlet and obtain a cargo of cotton. One by one the great English mills shut down for want of raw material, and when two winters had passed, and the autumn of 1863 had come, and the English working people fronted a third winter, the spectacle became pathetic and terrible. Gaunt Famine stalked the land. The skeleton Want stood in the shadow of the poor man's house. But the courage and fidelity of the English cotton spinners held out for two years. The poor always love the poor. The classes have always been wrong, the masses have always been right. Luxury puts wax into the ears of the aristocrats, but want makes the hearing of the poor very sensitive to a sob of pain. The sympathy of the cotton spinner was with the Northern working man. An English working man did not want to be put in the same class with a Southern slave. He saw that any law that[Pg 224] riveted fetters on black slaves in the South helped forge a manacle for the cotton spinner's wrist in the mother land. These poor English folk believed in the dignity of labour, in the right to a good wage, and in the necessity for all working people standing together.

But the mill-owner wanted raw cotton. The banker wanted the mill-owner to have his cotton that his loans might be paid. The ship-builders wanted Southern cotton that their industry might thrive. Investors who for two years had had no interest on their Southern loans sympathized with the South; the politicians, controlled by their financial interests, wanted the South to succeed. In that hour of temptation Avarice drew near and choked Justice. Greed offered bribes to Conscience. Old England's ruling classes, with the full sympathy of men like Gladstone and hundreds of others, favoured the speedy recognition of the Southern Confederacy in the hope that that would end the war and restore England's prosperity.

In a word, the situation was this: The North had to fight the South, and England with her influence as well. For here was the North, struggling for the principles[Pg 225] of the Pilgrim Fathers, for liberty, for democracy and for the slaves, and just in the darkest hour of the struggle, when she was burying her dead and the whole North was hung with funeral crape, England, with ships on every sea, England, strong and powerful, taking advantage of the capture of two Southern emissaries—Mason and Slidell—from the British ship Trent on the high seas, declared she would send an army to Canada and ships to batter down our Northern cities. Even Gladstone bought Southern bonds, but later Gladstone deeply lamented his sympathy with slavery and the South, and asked the world to forgive and forget it. Yet if the North has long ago forgiven England, it must be a hard thing for England to forgive herself that she gave to slavery every ounce of influence she had, her threats, her frowns, her diplomacy and her ships. Long afterwards a court of arbitration in Geneva punished England with an enormous fine for the American shipping that she helped destroy in her effort to help break down the North and defeat liberty in a war that her own statesman, John Bright, has characterized as one of the few wars not only justifiable but glorious in all history.[Pg 226]

Now this was the attitude of England. Her upper classes and financial interests were all on the side of slavery and the South. Her great middle class were largely in favour of liberty. Her working people were naturally on the side of free labour and the North, but they were weakened by starvation till their endurance and fortitude were almost gone. And then it was that Beecher entered the scene, returning from the Continent to England. Recognition of the Confederacy and other unfriendly official acts were trembling in the balance; yet there was hesitation, on account of the common people, who sympathized with the North. In telling of this afterwards, Mr. Beecher said: "To my amazement I found that the unvoting English possessed great power in England; a great deal more power, in fact, than if they had a vote. The aristocracy and the government felt, 'These men know they have no political privileges, and we must administer with the strictest regard to their feelings or there will be a revolution.'" There were many noble exceptions among the higher classes, and the Queen, doubtless under the influence of the Prince Consort Albert, who died in 1861, and had been a[Pg 227] firm friend of America, was also friendly to the North; but her Government was not.

The argument finally used to persuade Beecher to speak was that the English Anti-Slavery Society was already discredited, unpopular, and frowned upon by the nobility and the upper classes, and that if Beecher would not recognize them by at least one speech their cause and ours would be still further weakened.

He began his work with a speech at Manchester, the very centre of the cotton spinning industry. For weeks the streets had been placarded against him. On his way to the Free Trade Hall he found, not a multitude, but a mob, filling the streets. The meeting had been packed in advance. Within five minutes after his introduction the storm let loose its fury. There were two or three centres of conflict that became veritable whirlpools of excitement. All the rest of the audience climbed on their chairs to see what was going on in the tumultuous centres. Everybody seemed to be yelling, some for order, and others with the purpose of breaking up the meeting. Mr. Beecher saw that many were determined that he should not speak, and he realized that if they[Pg 228] broke him down, other cities would withdraw their invitation, and it would appear that all England was unalterably opposed to the North, so that the recognition of the Confederacy might follow. When his enemies began to wear themselves out and the tumult to subside, Mr. Beecher shot a few sentences into the noise. "I have registered a vow that I will not leave your country until I have spoken in your great cities. I am going to be heard, and my country shall be vindicated."

The orator soon found that about one-quarter of the audience were bitterly hostile. Another quarter applauded his sentiment. The great mass was hesitant, undecided, unconvinced, and he determined to conquer that undecided class, and add them to that portion that was friendly. He scornfully reminded them that he had before met men whose cause could not bear the light of free speech. He roused them by saying that American institutions were the fruit of English ideas, and that the fruit of American liberty was from seed corn that was English.

When some one shouted that he was harsh and unfair, he answered, What if some exquisite dancing master should stand on[Pg 229] the edge of a battle-field where a hero lifted his battle-axe, and criticize him by saying that "his gestures and postures violated the proprieties of polite life!" He added, "When dandies fight they think how they look; when men fight, they think only of deeds." He said that what the North desired was not material aid, but simply that England should keep hands off, and that France should keep hands off. He affirmed that even if they both interfered, the North would fight on, that slavery must be destroyed, and that liberty must be established on the American continent; that the victory of democracy and liberty in the North would mean their victory over the North and South American continent, and that if the day ever should come when the old flag should wave again over every state in the South, and the atrocious crime of slavery should be destroyed, there should be liberty for the press, and liberty for the poor in the schoolhouse; if plantations should be broken up and distributed among the poor farmers, and the privileges of civil liberty be won, that it would be worth all the blood and tears and woe.

When he said that Great Britain had frowned upon the North, but hastened to[Pg 230] fling her arms around the neck of the imperious South, one Englishman waved his arms and shouted: "She doesn't!" and the six thousand people began to cheer the disclaimer of England's being Romeo. To which Beecher answered: "I have only to say that she has been caught in very suspicious circumstances."

Beecher's unshakable good humour, his witty, lightning-like answers to their questions and contradictions, his solid sense and—when he got the chance—his flaming eloquence, finally quelled and captured them. Then he traversed the entire history of slavery in its relation to the Colonies, the States, and the different forms of legislation up to the Kansas and Nebraska Bill. When he concluded his speech, and the sentiment of the audience was called for, to the astonishment of his friends, men lifted up their voices with a sound like the sound of many waters, and lined up for the North and liberty. The enthusiasm was overwhelming. Within three hours January's frost had turned to the bloom of June, and the moment was radiant with hope. The London Times contained four columns of this speech, and the address became the topic of the hour[Pg 231] in every club in England. And either of these facts in those days meant that Henry Ward Beecher was famous in England.

His speeches in Glasgow and Edinburgh took up the second and third steps in the development of slavery and liberty on the American continent. He told these ship-builders in Glasgow how the providence of God seemed to be exhibiting to all the peoples of the world the reflex influence of slavery upon the strongest people and the richest resources, and how slavery cursed whatever it touched. That the lesson might be the clearer He gave liberty an unfriendly clime, and gave slavery a rich arena. To the North He gave short summers, bleak skies, the rocks of New England hills, the thin soil of New York, the sand dunes of Michigan. To the South He gave sunny Virginia, the riches of the Gulf States, the fruitful skies, the abundant rains, the treasures of the cotton, the sugar and the rice. Above all, God sifted all the nations of the Old World to find blood rich enough to people the Southern States. The men who laid the foundations of the great South were people of a heroic type, giants and heroes of fortitude. God brought the[Pg 232] Huguenots, and the very flower of French chivalry into Florida and Georgia. He sifted all Scotland and North Ireland for outstanding men for South Carolina. He took the best blood of England for Virginia. These Southern founders and fathers had fought in France, endured for their convictions in Scotland, conquered their enemies in England and North Ireland, and God rewarded them with the richest, choicest meadows and valleys of the sunny South. And yet Slavery wrought weakness, while Liberty made the bleak North to blossom like the rose.

It is said that plants exude poison from the roots, and soon destroy the soil unless there is a rotation of crops. Slavery was a noxious plant, deadlier than the nightshade, and it poisoned the South. The longer slavery existed, the weaker the Southern giant became, until, toiling on, the South became bankrupt through slavery, and toiling on, every year of the war under free labour found the North growing ever richer and stronger. Liberty is a giant that when it touches the soil renews its strength.

Oh, if the South had but had a better cause! History affords nothing finer than the bravery of Southern soldiers and their[Pg 233] leaders; had they been fighting for liberty, or some great cause that would have supported them during the struggle instead of bankrupting them as slavery did, it is doubtful whether any army could have defeated their soldiers.

In Liverpool Beecher literally fought with the lions of Ephesus. The bill-boards were posted with placards in red type. All men in England who had investments in the South and wanted to break Beecher and his cause seemed to have assembled. From the moment he entered the room the great audience became a mob, and with groans, hisses, cat-calls, epithets, men interrupted the orator with cheers for the South. Speaking was like lifting up one's voice in the midst of a hurricane, or trying to speak while a typhoon was raging on the sea. For one hour the tumult raged. From time to time the police would succeed in carrying out some obstreperous individual but there were enough men scattered through the hall, each bellowing like a bull of Bashan, to make hearing impossible. To add to the tumult, from time to time, an Englishman would climb on his chair and shout, "I am ashamed of Liverpool and my country," and the con[Pg 234]fusion would break out afresh. It took one hour to wear the voices out. When Beecher told the reporters that he would speak slowly so they could hear, and thus he could reach all England, the audience grew quieter.

Beecher urged three arguments,—first, that the national prosperity is dependent upon the production of wealth, and this meant independence for the producer; second, that prosperity depends upon manufacturing and that means a high quality of educated workman; third, that prosperity is dependent upon commerce and the exchange of commodities between nations, and that means brotherhood. He urged that the more intelligent and prosperous the workman, the higher his wage, and, therefore, the better he supports as a buyer. A slave uses his feet and hands, and produces a few cents a day. A poor white labourer uses his hands and his lower head, and earns fifty cents a day. An intelligent Northern working man uses his hands and his creative intellect, and he produces a dollar a day. A highly educated worker becomes an inventor as well as a freeman, and earns five dollars a day. With this wage he buys comforts, tools, products of the loom, builds up manufactures, and promotes prosperity. For that[Pg 235] reason a few patricians only in the South buy in the English market, while the millions of slaves demand from Sheffield only whips and manacles. Therefore slavery starves English trade.—And at last Liverpool heard him.

In Exeter Hall in London, Beecher closed his argument: "Shall we let the South go, and carry slavery with her? If a Northern working man has a mad dog by the throat shall he let that animal go to spread death? Letting the South go as a free nation is one thing, but letting her go to spread slavery over Mexico and Central America is another thing. When we kill the mad dog we will talk about letting the South go."

Beecher returned home to find himself the hero of the hour. In Plymouth Church, on Sunday morning, the audience stood for five minutes, and with their tears and silence told him of their gratitude and love. From that hour Stanton asked for his friendship, and was weekly and even daily in correspondence. He promised Beecher that immediately upon the receipt of any news from the battle-field he would send him a telegram. Indeed, the first news that the country had from Stanton of one of the great victories came to Beecher's pulpit and was[Pg 236] read over his desk. Other great men, the President, secretaries, the generals, the statesmen, editors, lecturers, preachers, did their part, but high among co-workers ranks Henry Ward Beecher. God gave him a great task, and armed him for the battle. He loved the poor, he broke the shackles from the slave, he discovered to the world the love of God, and dying he flung his helmet into the thick of the enemy. It is for us and our children to fight our way forward to that helmet, and fling our own at last into some new fight for the emancipation of the mind and heart of earth's troubled millions.

It must be confessed that the aristocracy of England and her upper middle class, in the main, still sympathized with the South, while the English cabinet tried to maintain neutrality. Four-fifths of the House of Lords were "no well-wishers of anything American, and most of the House of Commons voted in sympathy with the South."

But the attitude of the "classes" of England was only the reflection of her scholars. Carlyle, whose early books had no sale in England, and who wrote Emerson that he had received his first money to keep him[Pg 237] from starvation from Boston and New York, "when not a penny had been realized in England," had no sympathy with liberty and the North. As soon as his own physical wants were supplied by the American check which Emerson sent him, Carlyle began to call the war "a smoky chimney that had taken fire." "No war ever waged in my time was to me more profoundly foolish looking." (Slovenly English, contradictory thinking, and poor morals!) "Neutral I am to a degree." Then Carlyle tried to sum up his view of the situation: "Now speaks the Northern Peter to the Southern Paul: 'Paul, you unaccountable scoundrel! I find you hire your servants for life, not by the month or year as I do. You are going straight to hell.' Paul: 'Good words, Peter; the risk is my own. Hire you your servants by the month or day, and go straight to heaven. Leave me to my own method.' Peter: 'No, I won't. I will beat your brains out.' And he's trying dreadfully ever since, but cannot quite manage it."

No one knew better than Carlyle that there is a world diameter between the South hiring a man for life, and by force holding him in slavery. But Carlyle for three years[Pg 238] poured out such vapid humbug, cant and hypocrisy as this, and never once was sound in his thinking or fair in his view-point during the entire war.

Even Charles Dickens, who had written denouncing slavery in his "American Notes," returned to England in the spring of 1863 to predict the overwhelming victory of the South, and to characterize the hopes of Lincoln as "a harmless hallucination." But little by little, English sentiment began to change. Goldwin Smith, of Oxford University, consented to speak at a meeting in Manchester to protest against the building and sending out of piratical ships in support of the Southern Confederacy. He affirmed boldly that "no nation ever inflicted upon another more flagrant or more maddening wrong" [in permitting the Alabama to escape]. No nation with English blood in its veins had ever borne such a wrong without resentment.

Richard Cobden wrote to Mr. Beecher as to the feeling in England: "In every other instance ... the popular sympathy of this country has always leaped to the side of the insurgents the moment a rebellion has broken out. In the present case, our masses have[Pg 239] an instinctive feeling that their cause is bound up in the prosperity of the United States. It is true that they have not much power in the direct form of a vote; but when the millions of this country are led by the religious middle class they can together prevent the government from pursuing a policy hostile to their sympathies."

When Beecher appeared and spoke, he aroused, intensified, unified, and made effective this great underlying force of English popular feeling, and the unfriendly purposes of the governmental and "upper-class" element were paralyzed.

Beecher himself was very modest about his achievement. Said he: "When in October you go to a tree and give it a jar, and the fruit rains down all about you, it is not you that ripened and sent down the fruit; the whole summer has been doing that. It was my good fortune to be there when it was needed that some one should jar the tree; the fruit was not of my ripening."

Beecher returned home in November of 1863, conscious that he had risked everything in the service of his imperilled country. He found the entire North had constituted itself a Committee of Reception to welcome him[Pg 240] home. A great public meeting was arranged in the Academy of Music in New York, and the Music Hall was crowded from pit to dome with the leaders of the city and of the North. Mr. Beecher entered the room at eight o'clock, and the whole audience rose to its feet to greet him, but not until many minutes had passed in tumultuous cheering did he have an opportunity to speak. From that hour his influence in the country was second only to that of the President, two or three members of his cabinet, and General Grant. Abraham Lincoln wrote to Mr. Beecher words of warmest gratitude and invited him to the White House. "Often and often," wrote Secretary Stanton, "in the dark hours you have come to me, and I have longed to hear your voice, feeling that above all other men you could cheer, strengthen, quiet and uplift me in this great battle, where by God's providence it has fallen upon me to hold a part, and perform a duty beyond my own strength." When therefore Lee surrendered, and the war came to a close, President Lincoln and the cabinet felt that Beecher's service to the cause of liberty had earned for him the most unique distinction granted to any man during the war. And so it[Pg 241] came about that four years after Beauregard fired upon Fort Sumter, and the flag of the Union was lowered to give place to the flag of Secession, that not a general nor an admiral, but that a minister, Henry Ward Beecher, was selected to lift into its place again the old flag, that proclaimed to all the nations of the earth that government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.[Pg 242]



One of the wariest and most capable of the Confederate commanders was General Joseph E. Johnston. In his report of the battle of Kenesaw Mountain in Northwestern Georgia, in June, 1864, when Sherman had at last driven him to bay, he thus describes the attack and the repulse: "The Federal troops pressed forward with the resolution always displayed by the American soldier when properly led. After maintaining the contest for three-quarters of an hour, they retired unsuccessful, because they had encountered entrenched infantry, unsurpassed by that of Napoleon's Old Guard, or that which followed Wellington into France, out of Spain."

It would be difficult to find a more soldierly appreciation of both officers and men of those two American armies. And in a recent interesting book on Grant and Lee[2] is cited a[Pg 243] remark of Charles Francis Adams when American Minister to Great Britain in the early years of our Civil War. Some one sarcastically asked him his opinion of the Confederate victories of that time. He quietly replied, "I think they have been won by my countrymen." In all those four strenuous years, heroic qualities—enterprise, resolution, valour, self-control, exercise of judgment amid dangers, endurance and fidelity in disaster—were plentifully developed throughout both parties of the then divided American people. The lonely picket-duty, the toilsome march, the endless duties of the soldier, were a constant drain upon enduring faithfulness, harder to bear, often, than the crashing excitement of the battle, while the deadly suffering of camp and hospital were at times easily worse than all.

Most fascinating the story of the leaders of the two armies. The career of two preëminent military leaders of the South, Lee and Jackson, has already been reviewed—cursorily, as must be the case in all the references to example—and we have noted them especially as to character. But it should be said further that in the opinion of military critics and soldiers, both American and for[Pg 244]eign, Robert E. Lee was one of the most masterly strategists in warlike annals. In his defense of Richmond as the vital point of the Confederacy he did have the advantage of operating on interior lines; but when that is said all is said, for in numbers of men, equipment and military resources, he was always more meagrely supplied than his Federal opponents. His available means were mostly in his fertile brain, his prompt judgment, and his dauntless heart, together with the spirited support of his officers and the indomitable marching and fighting energy of his soldiers. The intense and tireless Jackson was indeed the chief's "right arm," and more than that, a keen intelligence, instant to see and seize the right way, and to follow it so swiftly that his rarely defeated infantry earned the proud nickname of "foot-cavalry."

Out of the many gallant officers of the Southern armies were some others whose names became familiar throughout the North. Among them were: Generals Pierre G. T. Beauregard, prominent in service from Bull Run to the end; the brilliant Albert Sidney Johnston, killed at Pittsburg Landing in 1862; J. E. B. Stuart, renowned as a fearless cavalry officer; James Longstreet, a[Pg 245] leader of great distinction; the two Hills—Daniel H. and Ambrose P., both renowned fighters, the latter immortalized by Stonewall Jackson's last words, "A. P. Hill, prepare for action!" Another was Richard S. Ewell—not, like all the foregoing, a West Point graduate, with training and notable service in United States armies and wars, but, like many Federal generals, a volunteer, who achieved high rank by efficient activity.

In naval affairs, naturally, the South had little chance to show her mettle, having neither navy-yards nor navy, and all her ports being blockaded. The chief attempts on the water were the iron-plated ram Merrimac, commanded by Commodore Franklin Buchanan, which after sinking several wooden men-of-war in Hampton Roads was defeated by the new iron-turreted Monitor under Lieutenant (later Admiral) John L. Worden; the iron-clad ram Albemarle, which damaged Northern shipping until blown up by Lieutenant W. B. Cushing, U. S. Navy, in a daring personal adventure; and the British built, equipped and manned Alabama, under Commodore Raphael Semmes of the Confederacy, which destroyed millions of dollars in Northern ships on the high seas in 1862-[Pg 246]1864, until sunk by the war-steamer Kearsarge under Captain (later Admiral) John A. Winslow, off Cherbourg, in June, 1864.

The principal naval activities of the Federals during the war were in the reduction of fortified places on land in cooperation with the armies, and in blockading ports of the South to keep in their cotton and to keep out foreign supplies. One of the earliest feats was the effective use by Captain Andrew H. Foote in February, 1862, of the gunboats built in 1861 by Frémont for river warfare, when Foote daringly shelled Forts Donelson and Henry on the Cumberland River, enabling Grant to attack and summon them to "unconditional surrender." And on the long seaboard, the North soon had a line of battle-ships stretching from Cape Hatteras around to Florida, New Orleans and the further coast of Texas. Besides its few original war-ships, out of coasters, steamers and old junk the Navy Department constructed a fleet. But it was the man behind the gun who maintained the blockade, starved the Confederacy, and cleared the Mississippi River.

The story of men like Farragut and his boys is like a chapter out of a wonder book.[Pg 247] In April, 1862, with a fleet of wooden frigates, mortar-schooners, and half-protected boats he entered the mouth of the Mississippi below New Orleans. The bottom of the river bristled with torpedoes—kegs filled with powder, and surrounded with long prongs that rested upon percussion caps. When a ship struck a prong it exploded the cap and the powder, and again and again a boat went to the bottom. The forts that protected the Mississippi thirty miles below the city were sheathed with sand bags, and mounted a hundred guns; while a boom of logs and chains crossed the river, and a fleet of fifteen vessels including an armed ram and a floating battery were there to dispute further progress. But Farragut lashed himself into the rigging of his flag-ship, and his fleet stormed the passage, raked with chains and shell. From the 18th to the 25th of April, a battle royal was waged with splendid valour on both sides; but the forts were passed, the boom was broken, the defensive fleet defeated, and Farragut had won New Orleans. Farragut, David D. Porter and other heroes had their full share of war and of glory not only here but later in Mobile Bay, and in 1863 with Grant and Sherman at Vicksburg,[Pg 248] and at Port Hudson on the Mississippi, and Porter at Fort Fisher in December, 1864-January, 1865. Of absolute maritime warfare there was none, except Winslow's sinking of the Alabama, but in all the river and harbour fighting, against both fleets and forts, there was endless demand for intrepidity, ingenuity, large intelligence, and heroism—demands never failing of response.

The greatest soldiers of the North were McClellan, Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan, and, towering above all, Grant. We may not linger in detail upon them all, and can but mention George H. Thomas, the "Rock of Chickamauga," stern as war, firm as granite, the bravest of knights; William T. Sherman, audacious, fertile, perhaps the most brilliant of them all; and Philip H. Sheridan, an organized thunder-storm, with the swiftness of the war eagle, impetuous, loving adventure, the idol of his men.

If at last Grant was the brain of the army, Sherman was, like Jackson to Lee, its "right arm." From the beginning of his military career, Sherman won the admiration and confidence of the government and the people of the North. He achieved honours at Vicksburg, and from that hour on to his victory at[Pg 249] Atlanta and his march to the sea, his name and fame steadily increased. His victories were won, not only by enthusiasm and brilliancy, but by a mastery in advance of all the facts in the case. His knowledge was microscopic, to the last degree, as to the roads, bridges, and resources of the country through which he was marching. On approaching Atlanta he came to a region through which he had ridden on horseback twenty years before. That night in his tent, his guides, spies and advance scouts spread out their maps before Sherman, and to the astonishment of all, the soldier corrected and amplified them. It seemed that a score of years before he had formed the habit of making a detailed study of each region through which he travelled, and of working out campaigns of attack and defense. His old notes were so accurate as to prove the basis of an actual campaign for a great army. His contest with Johnston represented what has been called an inch by inch struggle, and although Sherman was victorious, when he passed away, the aged Southern soldier, Johnston, made the long journey to New York to act as pall-bearer and to testify to the splendid qualities of his great opponent.[Pg 250]

It was Grant himself who called Sheridan "the left arm of the Union." By universal consent "little Phil" was the most brilliant campaigner of the group of soldiers of the first class. The story of his victory at Winchester captured the imagination of the North. The poem describing that achievement became the most popular poem of the year, and was recited by all the schoolboys on Friday afternoons, and quoted by all the politicians on the platform. The North had suffered so many defeats in the Shenandoah Valley that Sheridan's victory put new heart into the Union forces, and helped unite the Republican party, making certain the election of Lincoln.

Indeed, a great German soldier once expressed the judgment that Sheridan ranked not only with Grant, but with the greatest soldiers of all time.

The work of George H. McClellan was the work of the pioneer and pathfinder. It is one thing to take a sword, a Damascus blade, and use it in leadership, and quite another thing to take raw metal and on the anvil hammer out the blade for a hero's hand. McClellan made the sword; Grant used it. There is a pathetic passage in[Pg 251] Dante's "Vita Nuova": "It is easier to sing a song than to create a harp." Dante meant that he had to create the Italian language before he could write the "Paradiso." Now McClellan's task was to create an army. He took a body of raw recruits and drilled them; he organized a system of supplies and built up a purchasing, transporting and storing department; he tested out all the guns, the cannons, powder and explosives; he compacted a body of engineers, weeding out poor ones and educating good ones; he took officers who at the beginning had their appointments through political influence and trained them until he had a body of men well knit together.

But McClellan had to contend with jealousy and insubordination. He was a commander early in the war, and he had competitors and detractors. It was charged against him that he was more anxious to make than to use a splendid army, and possibly his ideals of efficiency were too high for those early days. Yet "Little Mac" was idolized by his soldiers, with whom he fought and won bloody battles, and even the indeterminate ones are held in doubt as to his responsibility. Had Hooker obeyed his command, and crossed[Pg 252] the bridge at Antietam and occupied the heights beyond, soldiers think to-day that Lee would have been crushed. Another fact was against him. The North was not ready to behold nor strong enough to endure the slaughter to which later on they became accustomed. After one of McClellan's first campaigns, Burnside wrote home that McClellan could have fought his way to Richmond, but it would have cost ten thousand men, and that would have been butchery. Later on, Grant, in a single brief campaign, lost twenty-five thousand men! But if Grant had suffered such losses in 1861 or 1862, he would have been dropped by Washington as unfitted for a military campaign.

History will rank Grant as the foremost soldier of the Republic. His story is full of romance. He was of Scotch Covenanter stock that settled in New England, and made its way to Ohio and Illinois. Like all the most successful generals on both sides in our Civil War, he was a graduate of West Point, showed talent in mathematics and engineering, and made an honourable name in the Mexican War. Scott praised him for his work as quartermaster and officer. The[Pg 253] two maps that Grant made by questioning ranchmen and farmers as he went through Texas, and the information he collected from men who had been in and knew the roads and resources of Mexico, were later on invaluable. Grant was in every Mexican battle save one.

Fort Sumter fell on April 14, 1861. On the 15th Lincoln called for 75,000 troops. On the 19th Grant organized a little company in Springfield, Illinois. Two days later Governor Yates made him colonel. On the 31st of July he was in command at Mexico, Missouri. On the 7th of August his victory at Columbus won him the rank of brigadier-general. On the 10th of February, 1862, he was made major-general; on the 23d of March, 1864, he was made lieutenant-general of the armies of the United States. It was one long uninterrupted series of victories, for it has been said that it will never be known if Grant could conduct a retreat, because he never was defeated. From the beginning his supreme qualities as a military commander were fully evidenced.

Columbus was called the Gibraltar of the Mississippi. Halleck had ordered Grant to feel the strength of the enemy. But Grant[Pg 254] was resourceful, fertile in expedients, a believer in offensive tactics. Hurling his forces upon Columbus, he won a signal victory. At Fort Donelson, Grant showed his iron endurance and untiring patience. When it came to the critical hour of the assault, a cold sleet-storm fell upon his army; the ground was a sheet of glass, the trees encased in ice. Grant himself spent half the night under a tree, standing upright, receiving reports and working out his plans. When a spy brought word that the Confederates had packed their knapsacks with three days' rations, Grant said: "They are preparing to retreat; we must assault the works," and, despite the storm, made an immediate attack. When Halleck received the news of the fall of Fort Donelson, in announcing the victory to Washington he did not even mention the name of Grant, but asked Lincoln to promote Smith, a subordinate commander.

Later, in 1863, after months of siege by river and by land, came the capture of Vicksburg, coincident with the Battle of Gettysburg, that was the high-water mark of the war. The announcement of these two victories, on July 4, 1863, intoxicated the North with joy.[Pg 255]

By this time Grant's name was upon all lips, and he stood forth the one general fitted for command of all the armies—in the West, in the South, and on the Potomac. Just as some men have the gift of inventing, the gift of singing, the gift of carving, so Grant had the gift of strategy. One glance, and Grant had the whole situation in hand—the weak points to be attacked, the weak points of his own position to be safeguarded, the danger point for the enemy. Obedient himself, he expected instant obedience from others. Willing to risk his own life, he expected the same self-sacrifice on the part of his fellow officers. One biographer calls him "a master quartermaster," telling us that he knew how to feed and supply an army. Another calls Grant a great drillmaster, exhibiting him as the teacher of his own generals. Another terms Grant a natural engineer, with great gifts, but without detailed training. Another speaks of him as the greatest soldier in history in the way of attack. But when all these statements are combined, they tell us that Grant is the great, all-round soldier of the war, who by natural gifts and long experience could do many things, and all equally well. It is this that explains the tributes to his[Pg 256] military genius by foreign soldiers, and the great masters of war in every land.

Grant's last campaign was against the capital of the Southern Confederacy, as the key to the Atlantic coast, for until Richmond should be taken and the Confederate government put to flight, the war would not be broken. Therefore Grant concentrated all his forces upon that:—"I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." In those awful campaigns Grant came to be called "the butcher," for he was as pitiless as fate, as unyielding as death. One outpost after another fell; one Southern regiment after another surrendered. Battles became mere slaughter-pits. Men went down like forest leaves; the army surgeons, at the spectacle, grew sick; it seemed more like murder than war. The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Chickahominy, Petersburg, were names to make one shudder. But Lee would not yield, and Grant had one watchword, "Unconditional surrender."

At last, without food, without equipment, without arms, Southern soldiers began to desert by thousands. Lee's army was reduced, his supplies were cut off, his retreat to the mountains and any chance of joining with Johnston from the Carolinas were[Pg 257] blocked. Grant demanded surrender to save further bloodshed.

On the morning of April 9, 1865, Grant and Lee met in peace conference. Grant had on an old suit splashed with mud, and was without his sword; Lee wore a splendid new uniform that had just been sent by admirers in Baltimore. Lee asked upon what terms Grant would receive the surrender. Grant answered that officers and men "Shall not hereafter serve in the armies of the Confederate States or in any military capacity against the United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged,"—all being then freed on parole. The horses of the cavalry were the property of the men. And Grant said: "I know that men—and indeed the whole South—are impoverished; I will instruct my officers to allow the men to retain their horses and take them home to work their little farms." Lee's final request was for rations for his starving men. Grant and Lee shook hands, after which the Virginian mounted his horse and rode off to his army. The Confederates met their beloved general with tumultuous shouts. With eyes swimming in tears, Lee said, in substance: "I[Pg 258] have done what I thought to be best and what I thought was right; go back to your homes, conduct yourselves like good citizens and you will not be molested."

When certain Northern soldiers were preparing to fire salutes to celebrate the victory, Grant stopped the demonstration. "The best sign of rejoicing after victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in the field." All men in the North felt that the fall of Lee's army meant the fall of the Confederacy. Indeed, it did practically end the war. The final sheaf of victory is reaped when the commander, at the head of his troops, marches into the enemy's capital and makes the palace of his foe to shelter his own horses. The whole South expected Grant to lead his Army of the Potomac into Richmond. But Grant remembered Lee's sorrow, and had no desire for a dramatic triumph. He sent a subordinate to occupy Richmond, and quietly began the work of disbanding the army. Sending his regiments back to the fields and factories, he said, "Let us have peace." From that sentiment issued the new South and the new North.

But the man who had fought the war through to a successful issue became the[Pg 259] most beloved man in the North, and soon the people bore him to the White House. The task was one for a giant. Four million slaves, newly emancipated, had to be cared for. Their fidelity to the families of their absent masters during the war was beautiful; while, towards the end of the strife, the enrollment and gallant fighting of 150,000 coloured men (Northern and Southern) in the Federal armies showed their manfulness. And now their Southern millions were free. They had the suffrage, but could not read the names of the men for whom they were voting. They were free men, but they had no land, no plough, no cabin, no anything. Pitiful their plight! In retrospect, no race has ever made such wonderful progress in fifty years. With President Eliot we may say that "their industrial achievements are the wonder of the world."

The second task that confronted President Grant was the reconstruction of the South. It was the era of the carpet-bagger. Northern regiments dwelt in Southern cities. Men were talking about hanging Jefferson Davis, and trying to decide whether or not the Confederate soldiers and officers should receive again the suffrage. Designing whites and[Pg 260] ignorant coloured men gained control of legislatures. Corruption was rife. The whole South was prostrated. Ten thousand questions arose in Congress, bewildering, intricate, and the whole land was divided in opinion as to the proper courses. Finally, all the Confederate officers, saving perhaps Jefferson Davis alone, and some who refused to accept, received again their political rights at the hands of the magnanimous North. Slowly chaos became cosmos.

Scarcely less heavy were the financial troubles of Grant's administration. An era of war is an era of extravagance. When hard times came, men were tempted by the dreams of cheap money, and the greenback craze was abroad. But Grant stood for honest money, and attacked lying measures with the zeal of a Hebrew prophet.

After two presidential terms came two years of foreign travel (1877-79), and wherever the great soldier went he exhibited his confidence in democracy, his interest in the working people and the poor. He returned home to receive such an ovation as no American citizen has ever had. Six years of private life were followed by a financial disaster that threatened to destroy his good[Pg 261] name itself. Grant was one who made ill-advised haste to become rich. Scandalized by the deceit and impoverished by the failure of men he had trusted as partners, the great soldier was now assaulted by worry and fear. Our best physicians believe that fear, whether related to property or the loss of name, or grievous disappointment, is in some way related to cancer. And within a few months after that awful wreckage, Grant knew that his life was coming to an end.

The soldier became an author. Stricken with death, in the hope of safeguarding his family against poverty Grant decided to write his memoirs. It was an astonishing literary achievement. His style is simple as sunshine. Grant knew what he wanted to say, said it, and had done. Yet all the time a shadow was falling upon the page,—the shadow made by the messenger of death, who stood by Grant's shoulder, ready to claim his own. Slowly the soldier wrote the story of his youth, his campaigns in the West, his battles in the Wilderness, while every day the hand grew feebler.

Reared in a religious atmosphere, Grant's nature was essentially moral and religious. He possessed all the big essential virtues[Pg 262]—honesty, justice, truth, honour, good will. He loved the truth. He felt that he had done what he could. Southern soldiers and generals as well as Northern comrades and friends brought to his bedside messages of affection and good cheer. At length he fell asleep. His tomb on the height above the Hudson has become a Mecca for innumerable multitudes.

To the end of time, perhaps, Lincoln will be remembered as the Martyr President, the best loved of all our leaders, the great Emancipator, the gentlest memory of our world; but side by side with Lincoln will stand Grant, the man of oak and rock, the man of iron will, who fought the war to a successful issue, and will be known in history as the greatest soldier of the Republic.[Pg 263]



It is a proverb that nothing moves men like tales of eloquence and heroism. Historians and poets alike believe that stories of bravery and anecdotes of heroes exert a profound influence upon young hearts. Here is Socrates. His judges condemn him to the jail and poison. Socrates quails not, and says: "At what price would one not estimate one night of noble conference with Homer and Hesiod? You, my judges, go home to your banquets—I to hemlock and death; but whether it is better for you than for me, God knoweth." It is a moving story. Here is the early missionary martyr, fettered and brought before a cruel tyrant, to be condemned to death. The missionary lifts his chains, calls the roll of the king's crimes, flashes the sword of justice, coerces the monarch from his throne, makes him crawl, beg, plead, and beseech the missionary's pity[Pg 264] and prayers, for speech has made a prisoner king, and turned a monarch into a captive. It is a moving tale. And here are the stories of war: Xenophon's ten thousand young Greeks, lost in the heart of the great nation, a thousand miles from home, without maps, without food, outnumbered daily ten to one, living off the country, fighting all day, surrounded by a fresh army each night, steadily pursuing their famous retreat. See, too, the handful at Thermopylæ, defending the Pass, and every one of them giving his life. And here are the Dutch, driven by the Bloody Alva into the North Sea, clinging to the dykes by their finger-tips, and fighting their way back to their homes and altars. And here are the American boys confined to the prison ship, the Jersey, starved victims of scurvy and fever, without food, without medicine, with the corpses of their brothers floating in the water just outside, boys whose monument stands yonder in Fort Greene. What a tale of martyrdom is theirs!

Yet the history of heroism holds no more thrilling story than that of the soldiers of our Civil War. Every other passage, every other incident, that we have passed in review can be more than duplicated by soldier boys who[Pg 265] have lent new meaning to patriotism and martyrdom. As many men died in Southern prisons as fell on both sides at the battle of Gettysburg. This is their story—they counted life not dear unto themselves; they struggled unto blood, striving against oppression, and the world itself, with all its beauty, was not worthy of them.

Our prosperous generation, threatened with effeminacy and softness, needs to re-open the pages of history and to linger long upon the portraits of our heroic leaders. Theirs was the greatest war that ever shook the earth. A million Northern men, and over against them a million Southern men, and a battle line a thousand miles in length! Including the long-term men and the short-term service, 3,000,000 men engaged in the conflict! Two thousand two hundred and sixty-one battles fought—if we mention conflicts in which there were more than five hundred engaged on each side. When Lee surrendered, his land was desolate. Armies upon armies of cripples came home to suffer! There were a million widows and over three million orphan children! Men who at Lincoln's call for troops left the college and the university discovered, when it was all over,[Pg 266] that it was too late to take up their studies, and lived on like unfulfilled prophecies. Others, who during those four years poured out all the vital nerve forces, brought so little strength out of the long, bitter struggle that they might better have died, and for years have been in the invalid's chair, looking with wistful eyes on the great procession of society moving on to industrial victories! The war all over? The war has been continued in its influences throughout the entire generation! It never will be over until the last cripple has dropped his maimed body, until the last child, robbed of a dead father's care, has recovered his losses, and the last woman who has lived alone through the years has found her beloved!

The courage and endurance of the Southern women, who took full charge of the cotton plantations and helped support Lee's army, stirs the sense of wonder. There were many Northern women who had no relatives at the front, but there was scarcely a Southern home where the father, husband or sons were not on the battle line. For that reason the Southern women were always in a state of suspense. Homes were entirely broken up during the four years. The men[Pg 267] were at the front, and all the women were either at work at home or were in the hospitals as nurses. During 1862 and 1863 practically every church in Richmond was a hospital, and there were twenty-five other buildings used by surgeons. Physicians had no morphine and no quinine. For coffee they used parched corn. Tea rose to $500 a pound. For sugar they steeped watermelon rind. For soda these women burned corncobs and mixed the ashes with their corn-meal. They had neither ice nor salt. They tore up their ingrain carpets to make trousers for the soldiers. Women wore coarse hemp and calico. Having no leather, one little factory turned out five hundred pairs of wooden shoes a month in Richmond.

When Lee needed bullets, a minister tore the lead pipe out of his house in Richmond to send the lead to Lee. Flour rose to $400 a barrel. In one little town iron became so scarce that tenpenny nails were used for money. No tale more pitiful than that of the women who took charge of the slaves on the plantation, comforted their little children, buried their dead, smiled, wept, prayed, worked, compelled their lips to silence, staggered on, groaned inly while they taught men peace,[Pg 268] and died while others were smiling. Whether or not men are made in the image of God, these women certainly were. And it was because they believed with all their mind and soul that independence for the State was the sovereign gift of God; and they died for independence, just as the boys in blue lived and died for the Union.

It was this moral earnestness and intensity of conviction that made the war so terrible. When England hired Hessians to fight Washington's troops, and they fought for so much a week, the hired soldiers were slow to begin attack and quick to retreat. Mercenaries have to be scourged into battle. Stonewall Jackson's men believed in their cause and thirsted for the excitement of the attack and onslaught. And yet all the time the two opposing armies maintained mutual respect and even developed a new sense of brotherhood as the desperate struggle went on. Never was there a war carried on with such intensity by day and such a sense of mutual respect at night. Once when the Rappahannock separated the two armies, and it was evident that there was no campaign beyond, a revival broke out in one of Stonewall Jackson's regiments and there were prayer-meet[Pg 269]ings in almost every tent every night. Becoming acquainted, a number of boys in blue by previous arrangement crossed the river, and knelt in the prayer service. One night the sound of the regiments singing, "Nearer My God to Thee," rolled through the air across the river, and finally the boys in the Northern army joined in, until at the last verse, the two regiments, opposed in arms, were one in voice and heart, as they poured out their souls to God in the old hymn they had learned at their mother's knee. For the soldier knew that any moment a shot might bring the end.

The sufferings of men in prisons touch the note of horror. The national government is planning a monument for those who died in Andersonville. Gettysburg slew 26,000, Andersonville 32,000. The stockade included twenty-six acres, but three acres were marsh. Incredible as it may seem, there was no shelter, no beds, no cook-house, no hospital, no nothing. Just the cold rain in winter chilling men to death, just the pitiless glare of the August sun scorching them to death. There was no sanitation, and when it rained the little stream backed up the sewage, and after each shower men died by[Pg 270] scores. Wirtz wrote Jefferson Davis that one-fifth of the meal was bran, and that he had no meat, no medicine, no clothing. Men burrowed in the ground, dug caves like rats, and not infrequently fifty bodies were carried out in a single day. Wirtz destroyed men faster than did General Lee. The men imprisoned in Andersonville urge that there were thousands of cords of wood just outside the stockade, miles upon miles of forests all about, that the prisoners could have built their own shanties and hospitals, and cookhouses. To which Wirtz's friends answer that he did not have weapons or Confederate soldiers enough to guard the prisoners on parole. While they also answer that the prisoners in Andersonville had as much food and the same kind as Lee's army was then enjoying. The plain fact is that the South was out of medicine, clothing and food, and was itself on the edge of starvation.

The wonderful thing is that these Union boys, 32,000 of them, who died at Andersonville, could at any moment have obtained release by taking the oath not to renew arms against the South. Some few did escape by digging under the stockade—but what perils they endured to escape from the[Pg 271] enemy's country! They slept in leaves by day, and travelled by night. They were pursued by bloodhounds, lay in water and swamps, with only their lips above the filth until the peril had passed by. They wore rags, ate roots, shivered in the rains, sweltered in the heat, grew more emaciated, until more dead than alive they reached the Northern lines.

Now that it is all over, Confederate soldiers like General John B. Gordon have said on a hundred lecture platforms in Northern cities that, having done what he could for States' rights and to destroy the Union, he thanked God above all things else that he was not successful. In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, that great Southern soldier wrote the last words of his life, in the hope that they would help cement the Union between the North and the South:—"The issues that divided the sections were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an ocean of fraternal blood. We shall then see that, under God's providence, every sheet of flame from the blazing rifles of the contending armies, every whizzing shell that tore through the forests at Shiloh and Chancellorsville, every cannon shot that shook Chick[Pg 272]amauga's hills or thundered around the heights of Gettysburg, and all the blood and the tears that were shed are yet to become contributions for the upbuilding of American manhood and for the future defense of American freedom. The Christian Church received its baptism of pentecostal power as it emerged from the shadows of Calvary, and went forth to its world-wide work with greater unity and a diviner purpose. So the Republic, rising from its baptism of blood with a national life more robust, a national union more complete, and a national influence ever widening, shall go forever forward in its benign mission to humanity."

Nor must we forget the work of nurses, the members of the Sanitary Commission, and the Christian Commission Movement. The events of the Russian-Japanese war show what is a wonderful progress of science. Japan sent along with her army experts on the water, the food, and the placing of tents, that made typhoid, cholera and the usual diseases impossible. Her surgeons used antiseptic methods, and gangrene was practically unknown in the Japanese hospitals. But the situation was different in 1861. Modern sanitation, surgery, antiseptic meth[Pg 273]ods, chloroform and ether are comparatively recent discoveries. Such anesthetics as the surgeons had were poor in quality and insufficient in quantity. In the camps fever was prevalent. Smallpox, measles and lesser diseases became malignant and wrought terrible ravages. Tents became more dangerous than battle-fields. What the bullet began, the hospitals completed. More men died through disease than through leaden hail. But the noble army of physicians and nurses wrought wonders. Think of it! Twenty-six thousand men dead or dying on the field of Gettysburg!

Here is a page torn from the journal of one of the nurses there: "We begin the day with the wounded and sick by washing and freshening them. Then the surgeons and dressers make their rounds, open the wounds, apply the remedies and replace the bandages. This is the awful hour. I put my fingers in my ears this morning. When it is over we go back to the men and put the ward in order once more, remaking the beds and giving clean handkerchiefs with a little cologne or bay water upon them, so prized in the sickening atmosphere of wounds. Then we keep going round and round, wetting the bandages, going from cot[Pg 274] to cot almost without stopping, giving medicine and brandy according to orders. I am astonished at the whole-souled and whole-bodied devotion of the surgeons. Men in every condition of horror, shattered and shrieking, are brought in on stretchers and dumped down anywhere." Men shattered in the thigh, and even cases of amputation were shovelled into berths without blanket, without thought or mercy. It could not have been otherwise. Other hundreds and thousands were out on the field of Gettysburg bleeding to death, and every minute was precious.

No page can ever describe the service of nurses, sisters of mercy, chaplains, brave men and kind women, who took train and went to the front upon news of the battle and remained there for weeks.

But while the soldier boys were striving unto blood for their convictions, what about the people at home who loved them? How did they carry their burdens and fulfill their task that was not less important? Fortunately, during the war, the North was blessed with four bountiful harvests that were rich enough, not only to support the people at home, and the soldiers at the front,[Pg 275] but also to furnish an excess of food that could be sold abroad to obtain money with which to help support the war. It seemed as if the sun, the rain, and the soil had entered into a conspiracy to support the North and liberty. The largest crop of wheat and corn ever garnered before the war was in 1859. At that time, men thought the harvest would never be surpassed. But strangely enough, that bumper crop of 1859 was surpassed four times in succession during the Civil War. Meanwhile the herds of cattle and the flocks of sheep more than doubled during the conflict, and all of the land that was not yellow with grain became a rich pasture and meadow, covered with cattle, sheep and horses.

Even the losses of sugar and cotton usually purchased from the South were made up to the North. Threatened with the loss of the Southern sugar, sorghum cane was imported from China, and the people scarcely missed the Southern sugar. When the cotton failed, the unwonted increase of the flocks furnished wool for raiment. It stirs wonder to reflect that one poor crop of wheat and corn might have changed the issue, and defeated the North. Singularly[Pg 276] enough also, the failure of crops in Europe not only offered a market for the unexpected Northern surplus, but yielded the highest price ever known, thus bringing in a golden river to enrich the Northern people. Jefferson Davis had said at the beginning of the war that "grass would soon be growing not simply in the streets of the villages of the North, but in Broadway and Wall Street." Davis believed that the withdrawal of every fourth man would make our problem of food and clothing impossible of solution. But at that moment the invention of the reaper enabled one harvester to do the work of ten men, and the new tools actually more than took the place of the Northern soldiers who were at the front.

Furthermore, the spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice descended upon the Northern women. On the little farms where the farmer's wife was too poor to buy a reaper, the mother and the daughters went into the field to plough the corn and thrash the wheat and milk the cows. In many counties in Iowa and Kansas one-half of the men were at the front, and in harvest time it is said that there were more women working in the wheat and corn fields than men.[Pg 277]

One other element fought for liberty and the North. A strange unrest fell upon Europe. Foreign peoples became discontented and began to migrate. In the summer of 1862 a vast multitude landed upon the shores in New York, at the very time when there was a scarcity of labour in the shops and factories. At the very hour when Lincoln was afraid that it might become impossible to clothe the army and equip it, the providence of God raised up foreigners who stepped into the place made vacant by the newly enlisted soldier; thereafter the North throughout the war actually increased in population, in wealth, in manufacturing interests. The Civil War ended with the North richer and more prosperous than when it began; while in 1861 slavery had impoverished the South, and war left the Confederacy crushed to the very earth, peeled and stripped, famished and utterly broken. For the South never yielded until she had cast in the last earthly possession, and knew that only life and breath were left.

Despite the abundant harvests, during the early part of the war the Northern people passed through gloom, anxiety and bitter disappointment. At first the colleges and[Pg 278] universities were empty, because the students had all gone to the front, but the common schools were as full as usual. The churches were better attended than formerly, while the newspapers were more widely read than ever before. The crisis sobered the people. The serious note was manifest. One by one luxuries were given up, amusements seemed paltry, and people forgot their usual diversions. After Bull Run came a succession of calamities. Longfellow writes: "Sumner came to dine last night, but the evening was most gloomy, and all went away in tears." Governor Morton of Indiana wrote Lincoln, "Another three months like the last six, and we are lost." Robert Winthrop of Boston came down to New York, and spoke of three scenes that he had witnessed. The first was a group of soldiers on their way home, in charge of friends, some crippled, some emaciated, gaunt and broken, and the rest carried on stretchers. At another station he saw a group of young soldiers, intelligent, athletic and sturdy, climbing on the car to start to the front, but on the platform was a group of pale-cheeked and weeping women, wives, mothers and sweethearts. "Oh, it was terrible! It is all black, black, black!" said Winthrop.[Pg 279]

But after the battle of Gettysburg, the high-water mark of the war, men's spirits began to rise. The North became inured to excitement. The emotion was converted into hard work and endurance, and that dogged determination to produce the raiment, the weapons and the food to support the army, or die in the attempt. Depositors took risks and loaned their money to the banks. Bankers took their courage in their hands and loaned the money to the manufacturers; manufacturers advertised for labour in Europe and started up their factories by night as well as by day. Wages rose, the balance of trade was largely in favour of the North, the oil regions began to prosper, and industry, commerce and finance all waxed mighty. In 1864 the whole land was in the full sweep of industrial prosperity. The debts incident to the panic of 1857 were fully liquidated. Iron is the barometer, and the country doubled its consumption of iron. An editor writing of his city says, "Old Hartford seems fat and rich and cozy, and everything is as tranquil as if there were no war."

But the industrial conditions of life in the South were very different. Be it remem[Pg 280]bered that the North was a self-supporting region, both as to foods and manufactured articles, while the South, under slavery, produced raw material, and used that raw stuff to build up factories in England. When the war came the South found herself without the means of supplying her own wants. Within six months the South discovered that every axe and saw and steam-engine and iron rail and bolt and nail had come from the North. Davis sent out men to scurry the country for old stoves and every iron scrap was picked up to be melted into weapons. At the close of the war tenpenny nails were used as five-cent pieces and currency in North Carolina. To crown all other disasters came the debasement of the currency. Macaulay says that the world has suffered less from bad kings than from bad shillings and sixpences. The Confederacy issued one billion dollars of paper money, States issued another flood of promises to pay, cities put out municipal currency, fire and life insurances their shin-plasters, and they kept pouring out paper money until finally all the printing presses broke down. A month before the collapse, a Confederate soldier, returning to his little cabin, paid $10,000 for[Pg 281] a fifteen-year-old mule, knee sprung in front and spavined behind, and $7,500 for the shoes for shoeing the mule.

Lee's army would have collapsed but for the marvellous heroism, resourcefulness and courage of the Southern women. They took charge of the fields, planted the crops, gathered the harvests, and staggered on to the end. Not one Northern home in five was death-stricken through the war, but practically every Southern home had lost one or two members of the family, through father, son or brother.

Nor must we forget what Lee owed to the fidelity of the negroes. Instead of insurrection, arson, pillage and murder in Southern towns and old homesteads, the Southern slave remained true to his mistress, and was the very soul of fidelity. Yet when the war was over, the town had become a wilderness, the plantation a desolation, and where there had been prosperity and even luxury, famine and want and disease had set up their abiding places. Verily secession sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind of destruction.

That the war influenced some people for good and influenced others for evil is beyond all doubt. During the first two years it was[Pg 282] a distinct tonic to the intellect and conscience of the people. The sense of national peril quickened the dull and lethargic, steadied the weak drifters, furnished ballast to all the people, made the strong stronger, made the brave more heroic. The first sign of national decay is the note of frivolity. The sure sign of greatness in a generation is the note of seriousness. In the middle of 1863 James Russell Lowell wrote Bancroft that the war had been a great, a divine and a wholly unmixed blessing, and that all of the people were exalted to new levels. Had the war ceased with the battle of Gettysburg, probably Lowell's statement would have held true, but later came the reaction towards graft and corruption, intemperance, profligacy and gambling. Within four years the representatives of the government expended from seven to eight billions of dollars. Government contractors bought at a single time 50,000 suits of clothes, 100,000 rifles, 200,000 blankets. The temptation to graft was strong for all and irresistible to a few. The government records speak of one horse-trader in St. Louis who bought his horses and mules at $75 and sold them to the government for $150, and made enough[Pg 283] to buy Mississippi steamboats for $65,000. He then rented these boats to the government for one year for $295,000, and at the end of the year still owned the boats. To what extent charges of graft were made is indicated by the fact that one claim was reduced from fifty millions to thirty-three millions. A cartoon of that time with strange exaggeration represents one man saying to his friend, "So-and-so has obtained a third contract from the government." To which his friend answers, "Well, well! A couple of more contracts and he will die worth a million." For any manufacturer to obtain a government contract was for that man to be on the highroad to wealth.

Yet the historians who analyze these reports find a large amount of exaggeration in the statements. Some waste there was, but the authorities seem to think that it was the waste of inexperience for the most part. When the war opened the Navy Department was spending $1,000,000 a year. By 1862 it was spending $145,000,000, and with no organization to handle such enormous interests. In general, in view of the sudden emergency thrust upon the people, the marvel is not that there was so much corruption[Pg 284] among government contractors, but that there were so many honest contractors, and that there was so little waste through inexperience.

In general it may be said that the moral and religious sentiment of both North and South alike steadily strengthened during the conflict. After Gettysburg, the Southern people and army, always deeply religious, in their distress turned to their fathers' God for support. Jackson and Lee's men fought by day, and held prayer-meetings by night. In the North, during 1861 and '62 and '63, religious meetings were held all over the land. When the winter twilight fell, the candles began to burn in the little schoolhouses, where the farmers assembled and prayed to God. In the small towns and tiny villages the little churches were packed with worshippers, not simply on Sundays but during the evenings of the week. During this interval the layman became as influential as the ordained preachers. At this time, the Young Men's Christian Association took its rise, all of the old men saw visions, and all of the young men dreamed dreams, and many a Saul was found among the prophets. Poets like Lowell were moved[Pg 285] by deeply religious inspirations. During the war Whittier wrote his loftiest songs and his noblest and most exalted prayers. The influence of the great conflict upon philosophers like Emerson is easily traced. American literature lost its note of unreality. Preaching became practical. There was a revival of ethics in politics. The war cleared the atmosphere of the country by sweeping away slavery with all its foundation of lies.

Wendell Phillips once said the French Revolution was the greatest and most unmixed blessing of the last one thousand years. Now that it is all over, and the slain soldiers and the brave women who went down in the conflict have had all their hard questions asked before the throne of God, perhaps these heroes and heroines who now live unto God look back upon this era as an era of sorrow overruled for justice and liberty. The conclusion of the whole matter is this: a good house must be founded upon a rock, and no government or civilization can be permanent that is not based on the freedom, property and intelligence of the working classes.

To-day the leaders of thought in the South believe that Lee and Gordon were right in[Pg 286] the statement that they "thanked God that they failed to establish States' rights, and that Northern men had succeeded in maintaining the Union." Time has cleared the air of misunderstandings. At last the North and South understand Lincoln's last words regarding the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered—that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the Providence of God, must needs come, but which having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine[Pg 287] attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drop of blood drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan; to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."[Pg 288]



Among the heroes who helped save the Republic, the last, best hope of earth, in that it gives liberty to the slaves, that it might assure freedom to the free, stands Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator and martyr. Take him all in all, Abraham Lincoln is the greatest thing the Republic has achieved. History tells of no child who passed from a cradle so humble to a grave so illustrious. The institutions of the Republic were founded for the manufacture of a good quality of soul. In the presence of the greatest men of history we can point with pride to Lincoln, saying, "This is the kind of man the institutions of the Republic can produce." For Lincoln's most striking characteristic was his Americanism. At best, Washington was a patrician, the fine product of aristocratic institutions, so that England claimed him. Washington was the richest man of his era, his home an old[Pg 289] manor house, his estate wide inherited acres, his relative an English baronet, his brother the child of Oxford University. The books he read were English books, the teachers he had were English tutors. The root was planted in English soil, though it fruited under American skies. But Americanism is the very essence of Lincoln's thoughts, Lincoln's enthusiasm, Lincoln's utterances, and Lincoln's character. One of the golden words of the Republic is the word "opportunity." Here, all the highways that lead to office, land and honour must be open unto all young feet. A banker's son may climb to the governor's mansion, or the White House, but so may the washerwoman's. The widow's son practices eloquence in the corn fields of Virginia, but he has ability and patriotism, and we bring Henry Clay to the Senate chamber. A child out in Ohio goes barefooted over the October grass, driving an old red cow to the barn lot, but we bring McKinley to the White House.

Yonder stands the Temple of Fame. The door is open by day and by night, and a tall, thin, sallow boy turns his back upon a log cabin in Illinois and seeks entrance. But the angel at the threshold asks hard ques[Pg 290]tions: "Can you eat crusts? Can you wear rags? Can you sleep in a garret? Can you endure sleepless nights and days of toil? Can you bear up against every wind that assails your bark? Can you live for liberty and God's truth, and can you die for them?" And that boy bowed his assent. Washington climbed hand over hand up the golden rounds of the ladder of success; Lincoln built the ladder up which he climbed out of the fence rails which his own hands had split. Like his Divine Master, he touched two or three crusts and turned them into bread for the hungry multitudes.

His little log cabin shames our palaces. His three books, the Bible, the "Pilgrim's Progress" and "Æsop's Fables" eclipse our libraries. His six months in a log schoolhouse were more than equal to our eight years in lecture hall and university. His fidelity to the great convictions shames our shifting politicians. For fifty years he walked forward under clouded skies. Like Dante, he held heart-break at bay. During one brief epoch only did his sun clear itself of clouds. He died without full recognition or reward. In retrospect he stands forth the saddest and sweetest, the strongest and[Pg 291] gentlest, the most picturesque and the most pathetic figure in our history. The Saviour of the world was born in a stable and cradled in a manger, and went by the Via Dolorosa towards the world's throne. Not otherwise Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin, more suited for herds and flocks than for a young mother and a little child; and by the way of poverty and adversity the great emancipator travelled towards his throne of influence and world supremacy.

History holds a few deeds so great that they can be done but once. There are some laws, some reforms and some liberties that once achieved are always achieved. Thus, Columbus discovered this new world, but his achievement reduced all the other explorers to the level of imitators. Thus Isaac Newton discovered gravity, and in a moment every other astronomer became a pupil and a disciple. There never can be but one James Watt, for, though a thousand inventors improve his engine, their names are little tapers, shining over against the sun. The last century offered men of genius two signal opportunities, and there were a thousand eager aspirants for the honour. Charles Darwin discovered the golden key that un[Pg 292]locked the kingdom of nature and life, and carried off the honours of science. Abraham Lincoln, in an hour when some would meanly lose it, planned to nobly save the Union, emancipated three million slaves, and carried off the honours in the realm of reform and liberty.

How great was the work done by this man and how supreme was the man himself, we can best understand by comparison and contrast. Among small men it is easy to be great. In Patagonia, where everybody eats blubber, a boy in the first reader is a prodigy of learning.

Anybody can be a giant in heroism and reform among Hottentots and South Sea savages. But the era of the Civil War was an era of heroes. Great men walked in regiments up and down the land. It was the age of Daniel Webster, whose genius is so wonderful that he achieved the four supreme things of four realms,—the greatest legal argument we have, the Dartmouth College case; the greatest plea before a judge and jury, the Knapp murder case; our finest outburst of inspirational eloquence, the oration at Bunker Hill; the greatest argument in defense of the Constitution, his[Pg 293] reply to Hayne. It was the age of John C. Calhoun, a statesman whose political theories led half a continent to deeds of daring war. It was the era of Seward, the all-round scholar, of Chase the greatest secretary of treasury since Alexander Hamilton, a man who struck the rock with the rod of his genius, and made the waters of finance flow forth from the desert. It was the age of our greatest orators, for then Wendell Phillips and Beecher were at their best. It was the era of Emerson, the philosopher; of Theodore Parker, the reformer; of Garrison, the abolitionist; of Lovejoy, the martyr; of Lowell and Whittier, the poets of freedom; of Greeley, the editor; it was also the age of the greatest soldiers, Grant and Sherman, and Sheridan and Lee. The great man is a form of fruit ripened in an atmosphere made warm and genial, and the climate that nurtured Lincoln unfolded the talents that represented also other forms of mental fruit. Among these men Lincoln lived and wrote and spoke, and suffered and died;—but he stands forth a master among men, an indisputable genius, one of the five supreme statesmen of all history.

Now if we are to understand the unique[Pg 294] place of Abraham Lincoln in our history we must recall again for a moment the men who set the battle lines in array. Unfortunately, most of our histories tell our children and youth that the Civil War raged about the slave. As a matter of fact, slavery was the occasion of the war, but not the cause. Slavery was the sulphur match that exploded the powder magazine, though the powder magazine could have been set off by a spark from the flint and steel, or a hundred other methods.

The Civil War was really fought over the question whether a constitutionally formed nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal could permanently endure. The whole period from 1789 to 1865 was a critical period, during which the Constitution was being tested and tried out.

During this testing many forms of secession were planned, and several actual rebellions took place. In 1787 there was a Massachusetts rebellion under Shays, over the question of taxation. In 1794 there was what was known as the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. In 1830 to 1835 there was a secession movement on in South Carolina, and President Jackson put down that re[Pg 295]bellion over the tariff. Then Daniel Webster marked out the final lines of battle, entrenching the Constitution against rebellious attempts. Webster fired the first shot of the war, whose last shot was fired at Appomattox. Webster carried the flag that Grant followed at Vicksburg, and shook out the folds of the banner that was crimsoned with blood at Gettysburg. It was Webster's banner that Anderson pulled down at Fort Sumter, under the stress of fire, and it was Webster's banner that, four years later to an hour, the same General Anderson pulled up on the same flagstaff at the same Fort Sumter.

During the period of the thirties and the forties, the conflict was a conflict of words and arguments between men like Webster and Calhoun and Garrison and Phillips. Later, the strife took on the form of a guerrilla warfare, and here and there leaders like Lovejoy were martyred. At last the strife entered into politics, when Douglas and Lincoln struggled for the supremacy of their principles,—but always it was a question of Constitutional interpretation, against whatever interest attacked the "supreme law."

Soon the conflict entered the Church, and[Pg 296] the American Tract Society, to hold the gifts of slave owners, forbade the distributions of Testaments to slaves, while the Bishop of New Jersey destroyed an edition of the Prayer Book because it contained a picture of Ary Scheffer's picture of "Christ the Emancipator," who was engaged in striking the shackles from slaves. The bishop was quite willing that Christ should open the eyes of the blind, make the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, but as for Jesus freeing the slaves—well, that was too much. Over the question of the Constitutional power of Congress to resist the further extension of slavery in newly opened territories, the whole land rocked with excitement. Liberty and Slavery, like two giants, grappled for the death struggle. In such an era God raised up Abraham Lincoln, to lead the people out of the wilderness, and into the Promised Land of Union, of Liberty, and of Peace.

Never was a candidate for universal fame born under so unfriendly a sky. His annals are "the short and simple annals of the poor." His home was a log cabin that had but three sides, the fourth one being a buffalo robe, swaying to and fro in the wind. When the biting wind of poverty became unbear[Pg 297]able in Kentucky, the scant possessions were loaded upon a horse, carried across the Ohio, and the child walked barefooted through the forests of Indiana, where a new shack was built in the wilderness. There Lincoln's "angel mother" sickened and died—that mother to whom Lincoln said he owed all that he was or hoped to be. Then when the winter of poverty and discontent settled down blacker than ever, the father removed to another State, where the mud was deeper, and the winters colder, where nature was less propitious. Lying on his face, before blazing logs, the boy committed to memory the four Gospels, "Æsop's Fables," and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." At nineteen he went to New Orleans, and standing in the slave market saw a young girl sold at public auction, and told his brother, Dennis Hanks, that if he ever had a chance he would hit slavery the hardest blow he could. At twenty he split 1,200 rails for a farmer, whose wife wove for him three yards of cloth, dyed in walnut juice, with which he had a new suit of clothes. He started a little store, failed in business, became a surveyor, bought a copy of the Constitution of the United States and the Decla[Pg 298]ration of Independence; was made postmaster; several years later returned to the government agent the exact silver quarters and copper cents that he had kept tied up in a bag, because honesty meant that the identical coins must be returned to the government; entered upon the study and the practice of the law; was elected to the legislature, and reflected; was sent to Congress, and on a second campaign for the United States senatorship from Illinois met his competitor, Stephen A. Douglas, in the great debate. Beginning this contest, he delivered the "house divided against itself cannot stand" speech; and in the course of his marvellous debate made the issue between liberty and slavery so clear that a wayfaring man, though a fool, could not misunderstand; declared that if slavery was not wrong, there was nothing that was wrong. Soon he came to be looked upon as one who each year would coin the happy phrase and the rhythmical watchword that would be taken upon the lips of 30,000,000 of people; was made the leader of the new "party of freedom," and President.

Now, with infinite skill and patience, he entered upon the task of proving that he[Pg 299] was the strongest man in his Cabinet, the strongest man in the North, the strongest man in the country, and the only man who had the last fact in the case, and therefore had the right to rule. Seward, experienced politician and statesman that he was, began by delicately hinting to Lincoln that if he felt himself unequal to emergencies, he could rely upon his Secretary of State for guidance, and that he, Seward, would not evade the responsibility. Lincoln answered by reading Seward's statement of a possible measure, and then placing beside it a statement of his own that reduced Seward to the level of a schoolboy standing up beside a giant. Then Stanton entered the lists as competitor, and quietly Lincoln asserted himself until Stanton's attitude became one of almost reverent worship, as he said of Lincoln, "Henceforth he belongs with the immortals." Then Greeley put in his claim for supremacy, and after Lincoln had published his answer to Horace Greeley, in lines as clear as crystal, and in words as gentle as sunbeams, not a man in the land but saw that Lincoln was intellectually head and shoulders above Horace Greeley. One by one and step by step he ascended the hills[Pg 300] of difficulty. Round by round he climbed the ladder of fame. Naturally, therefore, his centennial was observed by a week's celebration, when all the wheels were still, and all the stores and factories were silent, when ninety millions of people were gathered into one vast audience chamber, when one name was upon all lips—the name of Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator of the slaves, the acknowledged master of men, who gave liberty to the slaves that he might assure freedom to the free.

Thoughtless writers have talked Lincoln's ancestry down, and careless biographers have defamed him. Superficial students speak of him as a miracle, and say that his genius is surrounded with silence and mystery. But all that Abraham Lincoln was he had at the hands of his fathers and his mothers. Although their greatness was latent, his parents had as much ability in their way as their distinguished son had in his way. How do we know? Because when God wants to call a strong man He begins by calling his father and mother. There never was a great man who did not have a great ancestry, even though the greatness may have been latent and unconscious.[Pg 301]

Every strong man stands upon the shoulders of his ancestors. When you start for the top of Pike's Peak you start at Omaha. When you reach Denver you are six thousand feet in the air, and Pike's Peak is shouldered up on the foot-hills. Socrates is a great teacher, but look at Sphroniscus, the sculptor, his father. Paganini is a great musician, but Paganini was born of musicians whose wrists had muscles that stood out like whip-cords. Bach is a great musician, but there were forty people of the name of Bach mentioned in musical dictionaries. Charles Darwin is the great scientist, but there were four generations of scientists who had made ready for Darwin, just as there were seven generations of scholars that culminated in Emerson. And standing in the shadow behind Abraham Lincoln are half a dozen generations of men and women who handed forward to him a perfect logic engine, a sound mind, in a sound body; a mental instrument that worked without fever and without friction and without flaw. At the hands of Stradivarius one piece of apple wood is fashioned into a violin. If Stradivarius passes by the other board because he has not time, let no man say the board that was undeveloped was not full of[Pg 302] latent music. The Divine Artist and Architect shaped Abraham Lincoln's nature into a world instrument, but the same quality and the stuff were in his father and mother, who lived and died a bundle of roots that were never planted, a handful of blossoms that never fruited.

Lincoln's father and mother were like the crystal caves in their own Kentucky. There the traveller is led through a cave of crystals, newly discovered. One day a farmer ploughing thought the ground sounded hollow under his feet. Going to the barn, he brought a spade and opened up an aperture. Flinging down a rope, his friends let the explorer down, and when the torches were lighted, lo, a cave as of amethysts, sapphires and diamonds! For generations the cave had been undiscovered and the jewels unknown. Wild beasts had wandered above these flashing gems, and still more savage men had lived and fought and died there. And yet just beneath was this cave of splendid beauty. Oh, pathetic illustration of men who are big with talent, of women full of latent gifts, of fathers and mothers like Thomas Lincoln and his young wife, who struggle on without opportunity, who are denied their chance,[Pg 303] who are imprisoned by poverty, and fettered by circumstance, who are like birds beating bloody wings against the bars of an iron cage, who die unfulfilled prophecies, and dying, transfer their ambitions to their gifted children, believing that their son shall behold what the father and mother must die without seeing. God worked no miracle in Abraham Lincoln.

There is a photograph of the signature of the grandfather upon a title deed in Culpeper County in Virginia. Now, place that signature side by side with the signature of Abraham Lincoln on the emancipation proclamation, and the strong, sinewy sweep in the signature of the grandfather comes down and repeats itself in the strong, steady clearness of the grandson. And perhaps the strong, sinewy sentence came down and repeated itself also, for all fine thinking stands with one foot on fine brain fibre. The time has come for men with a sharp knife and a hot iron to expunge from two or three of the otherwise best biographies of Abraham Lincoln these false, superficial and ignorant statements about his ancestry. Science, observation, experience, history and sifted facts all unite to tell us that whatever was great[Pg 304] in its unfolding in the talent of Abraham Lincoln was great in the seed form in his father and mother.

Where were the hidings of his power? Why is Lincoln revered above his fellows, the orators, the soldiers, and the statesmen and editors and secretaries of his time? A line of contrast with the other great men who were his competitors for fame will make Lincoln's supremacy to stand forth as clear in outline as the mountains, and as bright as the stars. For example, Wendell Phillips was the agitator and orator of the abolitionists. Phillips said, "Emancipation is the essential thing. The Union secondary. If the Southern States will not emancipate the slaves, force them out of the Union." Horace Greeley was the editor of the war epoch. Greeley said, "Emancipation is first, the Union secondary. If they prefer slavery to liberty let the erring sisters go." Beecher was the all-round man of genius. His great speech in England began with an exordium at Manchester; he stated the arguments at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool; he pronounced the peroration at Exeter Hall, in London, and no such peroration and eloquence has been heard since Demosthenes'[Pg 305] philippic against the tyrant of Macedon. But Beecher's criticisms of Lincoln in the New York Independent during April and May of 1862 led Lincoln to exclaim after reading one of them, "Is Thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?" If these great men did not appreciate the national crisis, Lincoln understood it perfectly. Now, over against the editorials of Beecher and Horace Greeley and the lectures of Phillips, stands Lincoln, and to these three men he sent words addressed only to Horace Greeley, explaining to them why the time had not come for the Emancipation Proclamation. And although a part of this we have quoted in defense of Webster's position in 1850, that and yet more of the famous letter may well be repeated here:—

"I would save the Union.

"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery.

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.[Pg 306]

"If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it.

"And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

"What I do about slavery and the coloured race I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

"I shall do less whenever I believe that what I am doing hurts the cause.

"And I shall do more whenever I believe that doing more will help the Union."

How wonderfully does this publish the supremacy of Abraham Lincoln! Lincoln saw clearly, where others had an indistinct vision. As to gravity, Isaac Newton's vote outweighs all the other millions of men, and from the hour that Lincoln published this letter to Horace Greeley the people saw that Abraham Lincoln had the last fact in the case, saw the whole truth, saw it through and through. By sheer power, clarity of thought, strength of statement and fairness, Abraham Lincoln finally won over not only a lukewarm North, but a bitter South, until to-day he belongs to the ninety millions. If every Northerner should die, the brave and patriotic men of the South living now would[Pg 307] defend everything for which Abraham Lincoln lived and died. For at last it is true of both North and South, in Lincoln's own pathetic words, that the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

The most striking characteristic of Lincoln's character was his honesty. Some men are naturally secretive: Lincoln was naturally open as sunshine. The exact fact, truth in the hidden parts, openness, these were the innermost fibre of his being. Machiavelli laid out the diplomat's career on the line of deceit, and concealing the cards. Lincoln would have made a poor diplomat,—he spread all his cards out on the table. He won from his opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, the tribute, "Lincoln was the fairest and most honest man I ever knew." If there ever lived an absolutely honest lawyer, Lincoln was the man. In his work before the jury Lincoln never misrepresented his opponent's position, never twisted the testimony of the witness, never made biassed statements to[Pg 308] win a verdict. Once a young lawyer who was opposing Lincoln made a poor plea for his client, and overlooked in his argument before the jury two most important considerations. Lincoln was restless, and greatly disturbed. He seemed to think that the lawyer's client had been badly used, and that his attorney had not given him a fair chance, or guarded his rights. When Lincoln arose, therefore, he began by saying that the opposing counsel had overlooked the most important point. He then stated his opponent's position far more strongly than his lawyer had, and made the best possible statement for his opponent, to the astonishment and indignation of his own client, whom he was defending. Then Lincoln turned to answer these arguments,—with the result that for the first time the two litigants understood the exact facts of both sides, and at Lincoln's request settled the case, withdrawing it from the court.

This love of the exact truth and of fair play and of essential justice shone from the man's face, dominated his arguments, explained his view-point, revealed his character. The nickname, "Honest Old Abe," tells the whole story. Lincoln's final judg[Pg 309]ment partook of the nature of a final decree and law. At length his pronouncements became like a divine fiat. Take the truth out of Lincoln's character, and it would be like taking the warmth out of a sunbeam. He was truth, he thought truth, loved the truth, surrendered himself to the truth. Under that influence he refused to play politics, or fence for position with Douglas. Once Lincoln won a case so easily that he returned one-half of the retainer's fee, because he felt that he had not earned it.

Here, therefore, is found the secret of Lincoln's unbounded popularity. The common people know their friends, and—what with Lincoln's gentleness, his justice, his boundless kindness, his sympathy with the poor and the unfortunate, and his honesty—he became the most beloved man in the Illinois circuit.

Wonderful, too, his literary achievements. His great passages read like the Bible, and have almost the moral authority thereof. If preachers ever wear the old Bible out, Lincoln's Second Inaugural, and his speech at Gettysburg, and certain other passages, will furnish texts for another hundred years. One thing is certain,—if Chinese students in[Pg 310] their universities two thousand years from now translate any oration out of the English language, as we now translate the speeches of Demosthenes, these Chinese students will translate Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg, and his Second Inaugural Address. Contrary to the usual idea, it may be confidently affirmed that Lincoln was a well equipped man, and had the best possible training for literary style. During the plastic years of memory, Lincoln had three books to study, and two of these are the finest models for style in all literature,—King James' Version of the Bible, and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." These are the world's great literary masterpieces, these are the wells of English, pure and undefiled. Upon these two books Robert Burns was reared. To the fact that his mother made him commit to memory forty chapters of the Bible before he was seven years old, John Ruskin attributed his mastery in English style. Second rate men know something about everything. Lincoln was a first rate man who knew everything about some one thing. If you want to make a versatile man, turn a boy loose in a library. If you want a boy to have the note of distinction upon his pages, lock him out of a[Pg 311] library, and send him into solitude, with the English Bible, with John Bunyan, and with Æsop's Fables, and let him take these three books into his intellect, as he takes meat and bread into the rich blood of the physical system.

Literary style is the shadow that the soul flings across the page. Style is simply the intellect rushing into exhibition and verbal form. Therefore style is the balance of faculty, symmetry of development. A man is healthy when he does not know that he has a single organ in his body, and a page has style when you do not know where to find the note of distinction. There is a world of difference between "style," and "a style." Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural has style. Carlyle's French Revolution has a style. A perfect Kentucky horse has style. A knee-sprung horse has a style. Down the track comes this perfect horse, eyes flashing, head up, neck arched, feet dancing, not a flaw, not a blemish, upon leg or body. Looking at the glorious creature you exclaim, "That horse has style!" For a horse's style is born of perfect health, perfect lungs and perfect legs, one power balancing another, and all united to produce[Pg 312] an absolutely perfect horse. Now comes a horse that represents a collection of ringbones, and glanders, and poll-evil. The one horse limping in front has "a style." Thomas Carlyle's sentences are knee-sprung in front and his phrases are spavined behind, and, therefore, Carlyle has "a style" but not "style." You would know one of his sentences if you saw its skeleton lying in the desert on the road to Khartoum. But on the other hand, Lincoln has "style,"—that indescribable bloom and beauty, born of balance, development and symmetrical growth. Samuel Johnson bulged on the side of Latinity. Daniel Webster is an example of the magnificent, illustrating gorgeousness, opulence, and tropic splendour. Lincoln's sentences are like the Bible and Bunyan,—they are plate-glass windows through which you look to see the jewelled thought beyond.

Lincoln tells us how he made his style. One day he heard a man use the word "demonstrate." For days he cudgelled his brains to find out just what it was to demonstrate a statement. He tells us that when he was about eight years old, he began to be irritated when men used long words[Pg 313] that he could not understand. He began the habit of thinking over in the dark before he went to sleep any story he had heard, any statement that had been made, and he tried to substitute for the long hard words little short simple words, that a boy could understand. During those early years, he learned that the rich, racy, homey words are steeped and perfumed with beautiful associations. He knew that words are fossil poetry. What would one not give for the old cloak that Paul had from Troas, a piece of the marble by Phidias, the old threshold worn by the feet of Socrates, an old missal illuminated by Bellini, an old note-book in which Shakespeare wrote the first outline of Hamlet! And the old, sweet, home words with which a mother soothes her babe, with which a lover woos his bride, the old words of God, and home and native land, are the words that are rich in association and in power to move the heart. A bird lines its nest with feathers plucked from its own breast, and the heart steeps the dear, simple speech of home life in sacred associations. So Lincoln cut out all the long Latin words, and substituted the short Saxon ones. Schooled in the two great master books that are the precious life spirit[Pg 314] of earth's greatest souls treasured up, he developed his style.

Nor must we overlook the fact that the apparent narrowness of his culture represents a real concentration that made for richness and depth. If one must choose, take the upper Rhine that is a river deep and pure and sweet, and strong for bearing the fleets of war and peace because it is confined between banks and narrowed. But when the Rhine comes down to the flats and approaches the sea and casts off all restraints, and tries to include everything, it turns into a swamp, a morass, losing its power for commerce, and becoming a source of disease and death. Lincoln's culture was limited to the English, and to a mastery of the Constitution—the principles of fundamental justice, to one country—the Republic, to one topic—the Union, and to one reform—Slavery. Beyond all doubt, this concentration of study during the critical years of his career made up a much better preparation than if he had gone to a college, studied half a dozen languages, and fifty or sixty different subjects, and come out well smattered, but poorly educated. It may be doubted whether Lincoln would have been much better off had he been able[Pg 315] to read Latin and Greek, and speak French and German. Many people can say "It is a little yellow dog" in Greek, and German, and French, and Italian, and English, but after all it is only a little yellow dog. What educates is the idea, and not the half dozen names of a thing without an idea.

The important thing about a cistern is water, and not many mouths to the pump. Having spent many years learning to express one idea in five ways, one might be glad to trade the five ways of expression for five ideas to be expressed in one way. Edward Everett, once President of Harvard University, could talk in five languages, and at Gettysburg spoke for two hours. Lincoln could speak in one language, and did so for two minutes. But the next morning Mr. Everett wrote to the President: "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes." Lincoln's one language shames our knowledge of four languages, his three books shame our libraries, and our four years of college culture.

Nor must we overlook the influence upon Lincoln's style of the parables of Jesus[Pg 316] and the fables of Æsop. There are two invariable signs of genius in a boy,—one is the serious note, and the other is the picture-making note. All the great things represent serious thinking. The greatest artist of the last century was the most serious one,—Watt, with his Love and Life, and Love and Death, and Mammon, and Hope. The great poems have been the serious poems, the In Memoriam, and the Intimations of Immortality, the Hamlet and the Lear. The great orators have been the serious orators.

The next sign of genius is the picture-making faculty. Men of talent evolve arguments, men of genius create emblems, parables and pictures. Minds oftentimes called profound use long abstractions, and are called deep thinkers, because nobody can understand them. But along comes a man of genius, and he squeezes the juice out of the abstract argument, and flings the rind away, and tells you what it is like.

Measured in terms of genius, the parables of Jesus are the greatest literary achievements in history. Æsop's fables teach by pictures. "Pilgrim's Progress" is pictorial.

Lincoln was exceedingly fortunate in his generation in that the three great books of[Pg 317] pictures were in his hands during the imaginative epoch. Of course he was born with the talent for parable, because genius is one-half nature and the other half nurture. It was this natural gift and the training that taught him how when he had completed an argument and mastered the principle, to say, Now what is this great principle like, and how can I condense it into a picture and put it in a happy phrase that will sing itself across the land? This picture-making gift inspired him to quote the keen wisdom of that expression of Jesus, "The house divided against itself cannot stand." This skill in parables gave him the expression, "Better not swap horses in the middle of the stream," that gave him his second election. This vision power gave him that sentence equal to anything in Shakespeare, when Vicksburg fell, "Once more the Father of Waters goes unvexed to the sea." This faculty enabled him to sweep into one illustration a thousand arguments, so that the people could never forget the mother principle that explained the facts.

Nor may we forget what the great cause did for him. The era of the war was a great era, because God heaved society as the[Pg 318] winds heave the waves, and men were swept forward with irresistible power upon the great movement of liberty. Great movements make great epochs and great men. A great ideal of God and righteousness and liberty lifts Savonarola and Florence to new levels; a great cathedral inspires Michael Angelo's great dome; a Divine Saviour and His transfiguration exalt Raphael; Paradise explains Dante; listening to the sevenfold Hallelujah chorus of God arouses the sweep and majesty of Milton's epic; the woes of three million slaves made eloquence possible for Phillips and Beecher. The saving of a Union, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal, represented a cause into which Lincoln could fling himself. The thought of meanly losing or nobly saving the last, best hope of earth, exalted, transformed, and armed the men, making feeblings strong, and strong men to be giants.

Eloquence and heroism wane during the commercial era. No man can be eloquent upon the duty on hides, or salt, or the digging of mud out of a river. But dumb lips will break into glorious speech at the thought of freeing millions of slaves, and saving free[Pg 319] institutions, and handing liberty forward to other lands, and to generations yet unborn. The era of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, when liberty and slavery were in their death grapple, was an era so great that the ordinary issues of avarice, self-interest, fame, luxury, became contemptible, and men were exalted to the point where they spake, and suffered, and marched, and died, more like gods than men. The great battles to be fought, the great armies to be moved, the great navies to be directed, the great orators and editors with whom he counselled, the many slaves for whom he became a voice, the great days on which he felt that he was making history, the great future into which he hoped to send the great liberties unimpaired and purified, the great God over all,—lent greatness to Abraham Lincoln, clothed him with pathos, with sorrow, with dignity and majesty, as with garments.

Like every giant, he was gentle. The truly great are always sensitive and sympathetic. In proportion as the mountain goes upward in size does it gain in power to return the strong man's shout, or the sigh of the lost child, echoing and reëchoing the cry of need. Sympathy is the soul journey[Pg 320]ing abroad, to bind up the wounds of him who has fallen among thieves. Sympathy cannot feast in a palace while the poor famish. Selfishness can stop its ears with wax lest it hear the groan of the poor, but sympathy is knitted in with its kind. Lincoln worked as hard to help men as slave masters did to recover a fugitive to bondage. It has been beautifully said that he did kind deeds stealthily, as if he were afraid of being found out. He became a shield above the fallen; he stood between the soldier, condemned for the sleep of exhaustion, and the hangman's noose. He refused to attend a cabinet meeting because he was trying to find a reason for reprieving a soldier. "It is butchery day," he said one Friday morning, and he denied himself to a committee because he did not think that hanging would help the boy who was condemned to die. "They said he was homely," said a poor woman, going away from the White House with a reprieve for her son; "he is the handsomest man I ever saw." It is this sympathy that runs through his letter to that mother, whose five sons had died gloriously on the field of battle. For he squeezed the purple clusters of the heart, and let the crimson[Pg 321] tide flow down upon the page, as he prayed that the mother might carry through the years "only the cherished memory of the loved and the lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

More striking still, Lincoln's trust in God and His overruling providence. Mr. Herndon in his biography and Dr. Abbott in an editorial and an oration at Cooper Institute emphasize the agnosticism of Lincoln. The one says that in his youth he wrote an article against Christianity, and the other that he was not a technical Christian. Dr. Abbott thinks all this so important that he places the agnosticism of Lincoln at the forefront. But too much has been made of the schoolboy article of Lincoln on doubt and infidelity. In his youth Gladstone was a Tory, but he outgrew it. In the outset Paul was against Christianity. Tennyson and Wordsworth in their teens wrote puerile verse, just as Lincoln in his teens wrote a foolish paper. But it is cruelly unfair not to allow Abraham Lincoln the full benefit of what he came to be, and not to take the man at his best. It is unfair to say that a man is what he is at his worst and lowest point; a man is what he is at[Pg 322] his best and highest point. Stephen A. Douglas said Lincoln was the most honest man he ever knew. Well, if Lincoln was an honest man in his character, he must have been honest in talking about his religion and his faith in God. Was Abraham Lincoln an agnostic in that hour when he spoke his farewell words to his neighbours in Springfield, about starting on the memorable journey to his inauguration? He said: "I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine aid that sustained Washington, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that divine assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain." Was Abraham Lincoln without faith, and did he play to the gallery, when he set apart a day of fasting and prayer after the defeat at Bull Run? Having said that Abraham Lincoln was an honest man, why not remember it, when these critics read his First Inaugural, in which he declares that "intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favoured land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty." When[Pg 323] Abraham Lincoln wrote the mother, Mrs. Bixby, "I pray that the heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement," he meant that he believed in God, in a God who answered prayer, in a God who cared for the mother living, and the five brave boys dead. "The Almighty has His own purposes," said Lincoln, in the Second Inaugural, an address that is steeped in religion, that exhales trust in God. Take God out of that Second Inaugural, and it would be like taking health out of the body, wisdom out of the book, sweetness out of the song, culture out of the intellect, life out of the body. You cannot in one breath say that Lincoln was an agnostic, and then in the next one say that Lincoln was an honest man. I care not one whit what Mr. Herndon says. I care everything about what Abraham Lincoln says about himself in his greatest speeches, in his noblest hours, when he gave his countrymen his latest, deepest, profoundest thoughts.

In trying to explain the character of Lincoln we therefore make our final appeal unto God, for God alone is equal to the making of this great man. When long time has passed, the name of Lincoln will probably be[Pg 324] mentioned with Moses, Julius Cæsar, Paul, Shakespeare. Men will read a few of his paragraphs as a kind of Bible of Patriotism. Washington's name will not be less, but Lincoln's will certainly be more and more, and then still more. God and Sorrow made the man great.

And this is his life story. In the darkest hour of the Republic, when liberty and slavery were struggling to see which should rule the old homestead, it became evident that slavery would turn the garden into a desert, and the house into a ruin. And seeking a deliverer and a saviour, the great God, in His own purpose, passed by the palace with its silken delights. He took a little babe in His arms, and called to His side His favourite angel, the angel of Sorrow. Stooping, he whispered, "Oh, Sorrow, thou well-beloved teacher, take thou this little child of Mine and make him great. Take him to yonder cabin in the wilderness; make his home a poor man's house; plant his narrow path thick with thorns, cut his little feet with sharp and cruel rocks; as he climbs the hills of difficulty, make each footprint red with his own life-blood; load his little back with burdens; give to him days of toil and nights of study and sleeplessness;[Pg 325] wrest from his arms whatever he loves; make his heart, through sorrow, as sensitive to the sigh of a slave as a thread of silk in a window is sensitive to the slightest wind that blows; and when you have digged lines of pain in his cheeks, and made his face more marred than the face of any man of his time, bring him back to me, and with him I will free three million slaves." That is how God made Abraham Lincoln great.

And then,—we slew him. For that is the way our ignorant, sinful earth has always rewarded its greatest souls. Ours is a world where we crucify the Saviour in Jerusalem, where we poison Socrates in Athens, where we exile Dante in Italy, and burn Savonarola in Florence, and starve Cervantes in Madrid, and jail Bunyan in Bedford,—for the greatest manhood is always rewarded with martyrdom. And what better thing for Abraham Lincoln than assassination, because he has emancipated three million slaves and saved the Union, as the last, best hope of earth?

But, lo, who are these in bright array, looking over the battlements of heaven, while the forces of liberty and slavery in other forms struggle together on these earthly plains beneath? These with radiant faces[Pg 326] unstained by tears, that seem never to have known the mark of pain or sorrow? Ah! these are they who have come out of great tribulation, anguish and martyrdom; Paul from the stones; Homer from his blindness; Socrates from his cup of poison; Milton from his heart-break; Savonarola from his fagots, and Lincoln from his long martyrdom—the least part of which was the shot that freed his spirit in the hour of triumph and joy.[Pg 327]


Abolition Societies in the South, 25

Abominations, tariff of, 50, 163

Æsop's Fables, 290, 297, 316

"Adam Bede," 148

Adams, Charles F., 54, 243

Adams, John, 83, 121

Alabama, secession, 189

Alabama, the, 225, 238, 245

Albemarle, the, 245

Albert, Prince Consort, 226

Aldersen, Judge, 107

Alva, Duke of, 15, 264

American Tract Society, 296

Ames, Fisher, 213

Andersonville, 269, 270

Anne, Queen, 18

Anti-Slavery epoch, importance of, 6, 7, 13

Arab slave-hunters, 30

Athens, 14, 41, 212

Atlanta and Sherman, 249

Austin, James T., 81

Bach, John S., 301

Bacon, Lord, 110

Bailey, Kentucky editor, 140

Bancroft, George, 104, 282

Bates, Edward, 184

Beauregard, P. G. T., 192, 244

Beecher, Henry Ward, 49, 69, 91, 181, 204;
Chapter IX, The Appeal to England, 212-241;
reasons for European trip of, 214-216;
no official embassy, 217;
interview of, with Lincoln, 218;
breakfast to, in London, 219;
speech at Manchester, 227-230;
at Glasgow and Edinburgh, 231, 232;
in Liverpool, 232, 234;
in London, 235;
triumph at home, 235, 239;
raises Sumter flag, 241;
and Lincoln, 212, 218, 304-305

Beecher, Lyman, 138

Bell, John, 184

Bishop of New Jersey, 296

Bowen, Henry C., 181

Breckenridge, J. C., 184

Bremer, Frederika, 144

Bright, John, 222, 225

Brown, John, Chapter VI, 136-159;
in Springfield, 149;
North Elba, 150;
Iowa, 150;
Kansas, 151-154;
Virginia, 154;
Harper's Ferry, 155;
trial and death, 155-158;
his fanaticism overruled, 159

Brown-Sequard, Dr., 114

Bryant, Wm. C., 182

Buchanan, Com. Franklin, 245

Buchanan, James, 189

Buckle, Thomas, 204

Bunyan, John, 325

[Pg 328]Burns, Anthony, 84-87

Burns, Robert, 310

Burnside, Gen. A. E., 252

Byron, Lord, 84

Calhoun, John C., 12;
early career, 46, 47;
nullification, 51;
government and sovereignty, 52;
mistakes of, 59;
influence on non-slaveholding South, 196;
political doctrine of, in church affairs, 204-205

Carlisle, Lord, 144

Carlyle, Thomas, 100, 107, 236-238, 31-3121

Carpet-baggers, 259

Cervantes, 325

Channing, Wm. E., 74, 75, 81, 104

Charles I, 23, 42

Charles II, 23

Chase, Salmon P., 141

Christian Commission, 272

Clay, Henry, 52, 61, 289

Cobden, Richard, 222, 238

Columbus, Christopher, 291

Columbus, Ky., 253

Congregationalism and State sovereignty, 204-205

Constitution, the, 206

Convention of 1776, 23

Cooper, Peter, 182

Cotton, 26-29, 49, 222-224

Cushing, Lieut. W. B., 245

Dante, 95, 251, 290, 318, 325

Darwin, Charles, 291, 301

Davis, Jefferson, Stephens' opinion of, 203;
early career, 206;
as Confederate president, 206

De Bau on slave trade, 20

Declaration of Independence, 25

Demetrius, 87

Democracy, advance of, 5

Demosthenes, 14, 213

Dickens, Charles, novels of reform, 139;
praises "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143;
predicts Confederate success, 238

Donelson, Fort, 246

Douglass, Frederick, 34

Douglas, Stephen A.,
as orator, 69;
early career, 165-166;
supports Polk, 167;
proposes "squatter sovereignty," 169;
loses prestige, 170-172;
challenged to debate by Lincoln, 173;
compared with Lincoln, 174-177;
the great debate, 178-181;
nominated for presidency, 184;
supports Union, 185;
death, 185;
and Northern Democrats in 1861, 193

Dutch revolt, 264

Dwight, President Yale College, 46

Dyer, Oliver, 48

Edwards, Jonathan, 21

Eliot, George, 146, 148

England, 26, 49;
source of American principles, 218;
as to wars, 220;
why favourable to South, 221-224;
non-voters of, favoured North, 225;
[Pg 329]Beecher in, 218-221, 227-235, 239-241

English Anti-Slavery Society, 227

Emerson, Ralph W., 68, 96, 236, 285

Everett, Edward, 69, 106, 315

Ewell, Gen. Richard S., 245

Faneuil Hall, 81, 85

Farragut, Admiral David, 196, 246-247

Fillmore, Millard, 101

Florida, secession, 189

Floyd, John B., 189

Foote, Admiral Andrew H., 246

Fort Fisher, 247

Forts Donelson and Henry, 246

Fort Sumter, 191, 208, 241

Franklin, Benjamin, 34

Frémont, Gen. J. C., 215, 246

Fugitive Slave legislation, 36, 87, 214

Fulton Street prayer-meeting, 162

Garrison, Wm. Lloyd and W. Phillips, Chapter III, 68-94;
the pen for abolition, 68;
early career, 69;
begins agitation with Lundy, 70;
starts Liberator, 1831, 71;
accused of Turner uprising, 72;
organized American Anti-Slavery Society, 74;
mobbed in Boston, 76;
satisfied with Lincoln's emancipation, 93

Geneva Arbitration, 225

George III, 24

Gladstone, W. E., 225

Gordon, Gen. J. B., 271, 285-286

Government contracts, 282-283

Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., 246, 248;
early career, 252;
rapid promotion, 253;
Columbus, Donelson and Vicksburg, 254;
military genius, 255;
final campaign, 250;
Appomattox, 257-258;
President, 259;
political and financial problems, 259-260;
unwise speculation, 261;
authorship, 261;
character and death, 261-262

Great men, era of, 292-293

Great Rebellion, the, 11-13;
war of the, 265

Greeley, Horace, 54, 182, 183;
Chapter V, 117-135;
early career, 122-126;
founds N. Y. Tribune, 126;
extremist as reformer, 129;
"On to Richmond," 129;
evokes Lincoln letter, 130;
peace commissioner, 131;
draft riots, 131;
bails Davis, 132;
Democratic presidential candidate, 133;
dies, 134-135;
and Lincoln, 299, 305

Greenback craze, 260

Greene, Mrs. Nathanael, 27

Grinnell, James B., 150

Grote, George, 107

Halleck, Gen. H. W., 253

Hampden, John, 42, 83

Hancock, John, 83

[Pg 330]Hastings, Warren, 213

Hay, John, 218

Hayne, Robert Y., 41, 51, 56, 163

Hayti, 69

Heine, Heinrich, 144

Helper, Hinton Rowan, 197

Helps, Arthur, 144

Henry, Fort, 246

Henry, Patrick, 68, 191, 213

Hessian troops, 268

Higginson, T. W., 85

Hill, Frederic T., 242

Hill, Gen. A. P., 245

Hill, Gen. D. H., 245

Holland, 15, 41, 264

Homer, 326

Hooker, Gen. Joseph, 251

Howe, Dr. Samuel G., 104

"Imitation of Christ, The," 143

"Impending Crisis, The," 197

Irving, Washington, 74

Jackson, Andrew, 293

Jackson, Thomas J. (Stonewall), 200-202, 244, 245, 268

Jamestown, Va., 17

Japanese sanitation in war, 272

Jefferson, Thomas, 20, 24, 25, 53, 191

Jeffrey, Lord, 107

Jesus, parables of, 315;
martyrdom of, 325

Johnson, Samuel, 312

Johnston, Gen. A. S., 244

Johnston, Gen. J. E., 242

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 88, 169, 172

Kearsarge, the, 246

Kemble, Fanny, 32

Kenesaw Mountain, 242

Kentucky, 196

Kingsley, Charles, 144

Laud, Archbishop, 42

Lawless, Judge, 79

Lee, Robert E.,
honour to Virginia, 194;
early career, 199;
as strategist, 244;
final campaign against Grant, 256;
Appomattox, 257-258;
quoted, 285-286

Liberator, the, 71-73

Lincoln, Abraham, new force, 163;
challenges Douglas to debate, 173;
compared with Douglas, 174-176;
"divided-house speech," 177;
the great debate, 177-180;
Cooper Institute speech, 181-183;
presidential nomination, 183;
election and inauguration, 186-187;
inaugural address, 190;
calls for 75,000 troops, 193;
applauds Beecher, 212;
interview with Beecher, 218;
quoted, 286-287;
the Martyred President, Chapter XII, 288-326;
Americanism, 288-289;
three books, 290;
career, in brief, 296-298;
opposes Seward, Stanton and Greeley, 299;
ancestry, 300-303;
opposes Phillips, Greeley and Beecher, 304-306;
honesty, 307-308;
[Pg 331]literary style, 309-315;
concentrated culture, 314-315;
with Everett at Gettysburg, 315;
made great by great events, 317-318;
characteristics, 319-320;
religious faith, 321-323;
death, 325

Lincoln and Douglas, the Great Debate, Chapter VII, 159-186

London, 16, 18, 235

Log Cabin, the, 125

Longfellow, H. W., 104, 273

Longstreet, Gen. James, 244

Loring, U. S. Commissioner, 84

Louisiana, secession, 189

Lovejoy, Rev. E. P., murder of, 78-80

Lowell, James R., 94, 99-102, 282, 284

Lundy, Benjamin, 69-70

Luther, Martin, 115

Macaulay, T. B., 107, 280

McClellan, Gen. G. B., 250-252

Machiavelli, 307

McKinley, William, 289

Mammonism, 6

Mann, Horace, 63, 106

Mansfield, Lord, 24

Marshall, Thomas, 46

Martineau, Harriet, 113

Mason, James M., 225

Medill, Joseph, 179

Merrimac, the, 245

Mexican War, 167, 252

Michael Angelo, 318

Milton, John, 16, 93, 318, 326

Mississippi, secession, 189

Missouri Compromise, 169

Mobile Bay, 247

Monitor, the, 245

Morton, Governor of Indiana, 273

Moses, 36

Motley, John L., 75, 96

Napoleon, 242

National Era, the, 143

Negro, as faithful servant, as soldier, 259-260;
as voter, 281

New Orleans taken, 247

Newspapers, in 1861-1865, 118, 119

Newton, Isaac, 291

New Yorker, the, 125

New York Tribune, 126-128

Northern officers of Southern birth, 196

Northern resources, 274-279

Nullification, 51, 54

Nurses, 272-274

Otis, James, 83

Palestine, 41

Panic of 1857, 160-161

Parke, Judge, 107

Parker, Theodore, 84, 85

Parliament House of Peace, 110

Paul, the Apostle, 326

Penn, William, 22

People at Home during the war, Chapter XI, 263-287

Philip of Macedon, 15, 213

[Pg 332]Philip of Spain, 15

Phillips, Wendell, 63;
Chapter III, 68-94;
early career, 75;
aroused by mobbing of Garrison, 76;
Lovejoy's murder, 78;
Faneuil Hall meeting, 81-83;
Burns' rescue party, 85, 86;
agitation against Fugitive Slave Law, 87, 88;
Phillips' lecturing, 89;
oratory, 90;
defiance of mobs, 91-92;
influence, 93;
Lowell's poem, 94;
quoted, 285

"Pilgrim's Progress, The," 143

Plymouth Church, 91, 163, 181, 204, 218, 235

Plymouth Rock, 17

Popular sovereignty, 170

Porter, Admiral D. D., 247

Port Hudson, 247

Portuguese slave-traders, 19

Postal affairs, during Revolution, 120;
in Jackson's time, 121

Presbyterianism and Federal government, 205

Prescott, Wm. H., 96, 106

Prison-ship martyrs, 264

Prison sufferings, 269-271

Pym, John, 42

Quincy, Josiah, 53, 83, 213

Randolph, John, 32

Raphael, 318

Religious sentiment increased, 284

Revival of religion in 1857, 161-162

Rhodes, J. F., 60, 162, 202

"Romola," 146

Ruskin, John, 310

Russo-Japanese War, 210

Sand, George, 144

Sanitary Commission, Christian Commission, 272

Savonarola, 325-326

Scheffer, Ary, and Christ the Emancipator, 296

Scott, Winfield, 196

Secession, first threatened by Massachusetts, 52, 53;
reasons for, Chapter VIII, 188-211;
of South Carolina and other States, 189;
why not accepted by North, 207-209;
early rebellions of, 294-295

Semmes, Com. Raphael, 245

Seward, Wm. H., 128, 183, 184, 217, 299

Shaftesbury, Lord, 144, 145

Shays' rebellion, 293

Shenandoah Valley, 250

Sheridan, Gen. Philip, 248, 250

Sherman, Gen. W. T., 242, 248-249

Slavery, American, Chapter I, 11-39;
Calhoun's view of, 55;
controlled government in 1860, 188;
attacked by North Carolinian, 196;
destroyed vigour of South, 210;
to be paid for by war, 287

Slave-trade begins, 17

Slidell, John, 225

Smith, Sidney, 107

Socrates, 263, 301

South Carolina, and the tariff, 50;
[Pg 333]nullification
doctrine of, 51;
attacked Sumter, 191

Southern destitution, 267

Southern officers of Northern birth, 195

Southern resources, 279, 280

Southern women, 266-268, 281

Spanish slave-traders, 19

"Squatter sovereignty," 169

Stanton, Edwin M., 235, 240, 299

Stead, William, 99

Stephens, Alexander H., 201;
opposes secession, 202;
Confederate vice-president, 203;
opinion of Davis, 203

Story, Joseph, 75, 104

Stowe, Calvin E., 139

Stowe, Charles E., 139

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Chapter VI, 136-148;
daughter of Lyman Beecher, 138;
married, lived in Cincinnati, 139;
wrote death of "Uncle Tom," 141;
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143-148

Stowe, Lyman Beecher, 139

Stradivarius, 301

Sumner, Charles, 54, 75;
Chapter IV, 95-116;
succeeds Webster in United States Senate, 102;
early career, 104-110;
oration on war, 107-109;
boldly attacks slavery, 110-113;
beaten by Brooks, 113;
characterization, 114-116

Surgeons, 272-274

Taney, Roger B., 186

Tariff, the, 48-50

Texas, secession, 189

Thackeray, W. M., 148

Thomas, Gen. G. H., 196, 248

Times, the London, 230

Tombs, Robert, 137

Trent, the, 225

Tribune Almanac, 128

Tribune, The New York, 126-128

Tribune reporter and John Brown, 153

Turner, Nat, 34

"Uncle Tom," death of, 141

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143-148

"Vanity Fair," 148

Van Zandt, frees slaves, 140

Vaughan, Judge, 107

Vicksburg, 247

Victoria, Queen, 146, 226

War, good and evil influence of the, 281-285

Washburne, E. B., 179

Washington, George, 24, 191;
contrast with Lincoln, 288-289

Watt, James, 110, 291

Webster and Calhoun, Chapter II, 40-67

Webster, Daniel, 12;
early career, 44, 45;
answers Hayne, 56-58;
answers Calhoun, 60, 61;
7th of March speech, 61-63;
[Pg 334]Lincoln approves, 64;

Webster dies, 66;
as orator, 69, 164, 292;
banner of, 295

Wellington, 242

Whiskey rebellion, 293

Whitefield, George, 21

Whitney, Eli, 27-29, 45

Whittier, John G., 63, 69, 96, 106, 285

Winchester and Sheridan, 250

Winslow, Admiral John A., 246

Winthrop, Robert, 273

Wirtz, Henry, 270

Wise, Governor of Virginia, 155-156

Worden, Admiral John L., 245

Wordsworth, Wm., 107

Xenophon, 264


[1]"Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Story of Her Life." By Charles E. Stowe and Lyman Beecher Stowe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

[2] "On the Trail of Grant and Lee," by Frederic Trevor Hill: New York and London, D. Appleton & Co.